GE Renewable Energy is developing what it says will be the world’s most powerful wind turbine.

The company is to invest more than $400 million over the next three to five years to develop what will also be the world’s biggest offshore wind turbine, with a capacity of 12 MW and standing 260 meters (853 feet) tall.
GE Haliade-X wind turbine
With 107-metre blades, longer than a football field, the Haliade-X wind turbine will produce enough power for up to 16,000 households, GE said in a statement.

“We want to lead in the technologies that are driving the global energy transition,” CEO John Flannery said.

GE Renewable Energy will develop and manufacture the new turbine largely in France and aims to supply its first nacelle, – or power generating unit – for demonstration in 2019 and ship the first turbines in 2021.

The turbine is expected to produce 45 per cent more energy than any other offshore wind turbine available today. More power from a single turbine will mean less capital expenditure and operation cost for developers, shortened installation time, reduced maintenance costs, and ultimately lower electricity costs for end-users.

The Haliade-X will feature a 12 MW direct drive generator and generate up to 67 GWh of renewable power annually, the company says.

The combination of a bigger rotor, longer blades and higher capacity factor makes Haliade-X less sensitive to wind speed variations, increasing predictability and the ability to generate more power at low wind speeds.

The ability to produce more power from a single turbine means a smaller number of turbines in the total farm, which translates to less capital expenditure for the balance of plant and reduced risk in project execution as the installation cycle time is reduced. It also simplifies operation and maintenance of the wind farm. All of this reduces the investment and operation cost for developers, makes offshore wind projects more profitable, and ultimately lowers cost of electricity for end-users.

Additionally, digital tools (based on GE’s Predix platform) are in development exclusively for the offshore environment with an operations approach; these will help customers perform remote diagnostics, leading to improved time management (less time at sea) and more efficient operations, according to the company.

GE Renewable Energy president and CEO Jerome Pecresse says the new turbine will drive more offshore wind growth.

Industry forecasts predict the renewables industry will install more than 90 GW of offshore wind over the next 12 years, driven by lower cost of electricity from scale and technology like the new turbine, Pecresse added.