Soccer field sized wind turbine goes online

A 6 Megawatt wind turbine with soccer field sizer rotors has been installed off the Belgian coast. Dozens more will follow.

The turbine under construction. (Image credit: RWE Innogy)

Imagine a gigantic wind turbine that has rotors longer than a soccer field. It might sound like the delusions of 1960's science fiction writers, but one does exist 28 kilometers off the coast of Belgium.

This week, Germany energy company RWE Innogy announced that a wind turbine with a rated capacity of 6 megawatts was added to the Thorton Bank. Its rotors have a 126 meter diameter across, and RWE says that it is the most powerful offshore wind turbine in existance.

48 more of these turbines are slated to be installed in the second and third phases of the project. They are manufactured by another Germany energy firm, REpower.

"The installation of the first 6 MW turbine in a commercial offshore wind farm is an important milestone for the entire offshore wind industry. It marks another step along the road towards larger offshore wind power plants with ever more powerful machines. The experience we are gathering with the construction of these plants is of great value to us because we are also going to use this turbine in our German offshore wind farm Nordsee Ost," explained Prof. Martin Skiba, head of offshore wind power at RWE Innogy.

Thorton Bank is expected to generate 325 MW of power, and is backed by 1.3 billion euros in funding from eight European banks. That's enough clean energy to meet the needs of nearly 600,000 people. 30 MW of the project has been in operation since 2009 in the form of six 5 MW turbines.

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com