RWE Innogy Installs World's Most Powerful Wind Turbine in Belgium
The world's most powerful wind turbine has been installed at the Thornton Bank wind farm off the coast of Belgium.
The turbine, manufactured by REpower Systems, a subsidiary of the Suzlon Group, has the capacity to generate up to 6.15 megawatts of energy. This is the first of 48 6.15 MW wind turbines to be installed at RWE Innogy's 325 MW Thornton Bank wind farm.
Located 28 kilometers off Ostend, Belgium, Thornton Bank is in its second phase of development. Currently the wind farm has six 5 MW wind turbines operating. Phase II of the wind farm's construction calls for the installation of 38 of the world's largest wind turbines. Construction on phase two is expected to be complete in September 2012. In 2013, RWE Innogy will install the last 18 turbines in the third and final phase of development.
To really understand the size of REpower's behemoth wind turbines one just needs to look at its dimensions: the nacelle (the cover for the generator, gear box, and drive train) is the size of a two-family house, while the rotor (turbine's blades) has diameter of 126 meters, roughly the size of two soccer fields. One turbine has the capacity to power 6,000 homes. When complete, the €1.3 billion Thornton Bank wind farm will have be able to supply over 600,000 people with electricity annually.
Professor Martin Skiba, Head of Offshore Wind Power at RWE Innogy, says, "The installation fo 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."
Turbine manufacturers are racing to produce more efficient and powerful machines. Although the 6.15 MW turbine currently represents the benchmark for innovation, engineers are actively working to develop 10 MW turbines.
Image credit: C-Power
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