Most offshore wind turbines currently in use are 5 MW and under, but that won't be the case for long. Many of the major wind turbine makers are trying to go bigger, bigger, bigger.
Turbine company Vestas recently revealed a 7 MW offshore wind turbine design called the V164 that has three 80-meter-long blades and is 187 meters tall. The sweep area of the turbine will be 21,124 square meters. The V164 will generate 30 percent more energy per ton than current turbines and the power needed to produce the turbines themselves will be paid back in 10 months of use. The V164 could be built sometime next year.
California-based turbine company Clipper is working on a 10 MW turbine called the Britannia, which they plan to unveil in 2012, while Norwegian company Sway is working on a floating turbine of the same size.
One of the advantages to these super-sized turbines is construction costs. A large part of the cost of an offshore wind farm comes from the underwater foundations that support the turbines, so if you can generate more power from a single turbine, then you reduce the amount of foundations you need. Also, it allows for an easier scaling up of wind farm energy output by adding a few larger turbines rather than a lot of smaller ones.
via New Scientist
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