Tuesday, 01 August 2023 04:24

World’s largest wind turbine switched on

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China has long been touted as a revolutionary when it comes to wind power. Earlier this year, it was reported that the country had begun construction of a wind farm using what were then hailed as the largest turbines ever seen, each with a capacity of 16 megawatts. Now, a new milestone has been reached, with the successful switch-on of a turbine with a rotor diameter over twice the length of a football field.

China Three Gorges Corporation announced that the 16-megawatt MySE 16-260 turbine had been successfully installed at the company’s offshore wind farm near Fujian Province on July 19. The behemoth is 152 meters (500 feet) tall, and each single blade is 123 meters (403 feet) and weighs 54 tons. This means that the sweep of the blades as they rotate covers an area of 50,000 square meters (nearly 540,000 square feet).

It's the first time such a large turbine has been hooked up to a commercial grid.

According to the corporation, just one of these turbines should be able to produce enough electricity to power 36,000 households of three people each for one year. Detailing the impressive green credentials of this technology, they claim that wind-powered domestic electricity could reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 54,000 tons compared with using coal-fired power stations.

The Fuijian offshore wind farm sits in the Taiwan Strait. Gusts of force 7 on the Beaufort scale, classified as “near gales”, are a regular occurrence in these treacherous waters, which is obviously perfect for generating wind power – provided, of course, that your turbines can withstand the weather. Mingyang Smart Energy, who designed the MySE 16-260, were already confident their machine was up to the challenge, stating in a LinkedIn postthat it could handle “extreme wind speeds of 79.8 [meters per second].”

Still, it wasn’t very long at all before these claims were put to the test, in the wake of the devastating typhoon Talim that ravaged East Asia earlier this month. The typhoon threat is ever-present in this region, and the new mega-turbine withstood the onslaught.

Buoyed by the success of this installation, China Three Gorges Corporation is already looking to the future. “In the next step, the 16 [megawatt] unit will be applied in batches in the second phase of the Zhangpu Liuao Offshore Wind Farm Project constructed by China Three Gorges Corporation,” said executive director of the Three Gorges Group Fujian Company Lei Zengjuan.

Whilst China has been leading the way in developing bigger and more powerful turbines, other countries are hot on its heels. Construction is underway on the USA’s Vineyard Wind 1, a massive offshore development that will incorporate 13-megawatt GE Haliade-X turbines. In 2021, Denmark announced a project to build a dedicated artificial island of wind turbines off its coast.

In a world where a push away from fossil fuels is more urgently needed than ever before, any and all advances in renewable energy must surely be good news.


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