Danish cleantech firm Vestas announced on Thursday a massive 7-megawatt offshore wind turbine whose blades are each as long as nine London city buses.
The company's next-generation offshore turbine, the V164-7.0 MW, boasts a rotor diameter of 164 meters -- more than 538 feet. It uses a medium-speed drivetrain, and is designed to handle "the roughest" conditions in the North Sea, which separates Scandinavia from Britain.
The reason for such incredible size is simple: cost of energy. For offshore wind, lowering the cost of energy is a key metric, and one means to do so is to increase the size of the turbine and its blades, allowing for increased energy capture.
Vestas said it expects the offshore wind market to take off in Northern Europe, "where conditions at sea are particularly rough," Vestas Offshore president Anders Søe-Jensen said in a statement.
Of course, Vestas is eyeing the next round of British wind power deployments as the vehicle through which it can sell its new flagship offshore turbine. The company will be positioning the product as extremely reliable in difficult conditions.
To wit, Vestas Technology R&D president Finn Strøm Madsen:
Offshore wind customers do not want new and untested solutions. They want reliability and business case certainty.
Te first V164-7.0 MW prototypes are expected in Q4 2012. Serial production is set to begin in Q1 2015, provided enough companies order them.
This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com