The offshore wind industry has received a treble boost this week as MHI Vestas unveiled what it describes as ‘the world’s most powerful turbine’, leading marine energy developer Atlantis Energy expanded its plans to move into the floating turbine market, and US officials gave the go-ahead for the country’s largest offshore wind farm to date.
MHI Vestas today announced it has “smashed” the 24 hour power generation record for a single turbine using its new model, which uprates its current 8MW turbine so that it can deliver 9MW of capacity at certain sites.
The company said a protoype of the turbine deployed at Østerild broke the energy generation record for a commercially available offshore wind turbine on Thursday 1st December, generating 215,999.1kWh of power over a 24 hour period.
Dubbed V164, MHI Vestas said the increased capacity of the turbine meant it can reduce the capital expenditure required for offshore wind projects.
“We are committed to delivering turbine technology that is in line with the development of our industry, based on our 20+ years of offshore experience,” said Torben Hvid Larsen, CTO at the company. “Reliability remains a key enabler, and our approach to developing our existing platform supports this strategy… We are confident that the 9 MW machine has now proven that it is ready for the market and we believe that our wind turbine will play an integral part in enabling the offshore industry to continue to drive down the cost of energy.”
The official launch comes just days after an industry wide research project revealed the sector has slashed the cost of offshore wind power by almost a third in four years, meaning the sector has met a UK government target to deliver power at less than £100/MWh four years early.
The industry is confident further cost reductions can be delivered and is investing heavily in larger turbines and new foundation designs that promise to continue to enhance turbine performance and reduce costs.
One innovation currently being pursued is for floating turbines that make it easier to access deep waters and promise to reduce foundation costs.
The nascent sector received a further vote of confidence today as leading tidal energy developer Atlantis Resources announced it has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with floating foundation developer Ideol to co-operate on the proposed development of up to 1.5GW of floating offshore wind farms, with an initial pre-commercial phase of up to 100MW staled for commissioning by 2021.
Under the MoU, Atlantis will lead the review, selection and consenting of UK sites and in attracting third party funding, the companies said, while Ideol will design the technical concepts and be the exclusive provider for the floating foundation systems.
“Ideol are a high quality, technically proficient, world leading technology and services company capable of delivering cost competitive floating offshore wind solutions to a market that is voracious in its appetite for large scale offshore wind development at an optimised cost of energy,” said Tim Cornelius, CEO of Atlantis, in a statement.
“This MoU is a significant step in our diversification strategy and leverages our existing skill set accumulated during the progression of our tidal portfolio. To now be seeking to develop a large floating offshore wind project alongside the UK’s largest tidal stream project is truly exciting.”
Meanwhile, on the other side of the Atlantic the fledgling US offshore wind industry received a major boost with the news developer Deepwater Wind has secured approval for its 15 turbine project off the coast of Long Island.