Work to install a prototype of GE Renewable Energy's Haliade-X 12MW wind turbine is progressing, with a ceremonial ground-breaking ceremony taking place Monday in Maasvlakte, Rotterdam.
The event was organized by Future Wind and marks the beginning of preparatory activities to host the offshore wind turbine at the site.
Construction of the turbine's foundations began earlier this year. Its nacelle, blades and tower prototype parts will arrive later this summer.
In January 2019, GE Renewable Energy signed an agreement with Future Wind, a joint venture between SIF Holding Netherlands and Pondera Development, to install the prototype.
While it has been designed for offshore environments, GE Renewable Energy said the prototype would be installed onshore in order to "facilitate access for testing." The deal also includes five years of testing as well as a 15-year full service operation and maintenance agreement.
Details of the Haliade-X 12 MW turbine were announced in 2018. Its scale is considerable: it will stand 260 meters tall and have a capacity of 12 megawatts, as well as 107-meter-long blades.
"We are on schedule to install the biggest and more powerful wind turbine in the world," GE's Vincent Schellings said in a statement Monday. Schellings added that the turbine would "contribute to make offshore wind energy more competitive." GE is investing $400 million in the development and deployment of the Haliade-X.
Europe is a major player when it comes to offshore wind. In September 2018, the world's largest operational offshore wind farm, located in the Irish Sea, officially opened.
The Walney Extension Offshore Wind Farm has a total capacity of 659 megawatts and is capable of powering nearly 600,000 homes in the U.K, according to Danish energy business Orsted.