Prototype of 'world's most powerful offshore wind turbine' starts sending power to utility

Key Points
  • The prototype has been installed at the port of Maasvlakte-Rotterdam, the Netherlands.
  • Standing 260 meters tall, the scale of the turbine is considerable. 
GE's Haliade-X wind turbine has a 12 megawatt generator and stands 260 meters tall.
GE Renewable Energy

Dutch utility Eneco has started to purchase power produced by the prototype of GE Renewable Energy's Haliade-X 12 MW wind turbine.

The prototype has been installed at the port of Maasvlakte-Rotterdam, the Netherlands. The energy produced by the Haliade-X is being sold by Future Wind, a joint venture between Pondera Development and SIF Holding Netherlands.

The scale of the turbine is considerable: it has a capacity of 12 megawatts (MW), a height of 260 meters and a blade length of 107 meters. GE Renewable Energy has described it as the "world's most powerful offshore wind turbine."

In a statement Tuesday, GE said the turbine had recently produced 262 megawatt hours of energy across a 24 hour period, enough to power 30,000 households in the area. In November, it was announced that the turbine had generated its first kilowatt hour. 

Although designed for the offshore sector, GE Renewable Energy has previously said that the prototype of the Haliade-X 12 MW would be installed onshore in order to "simplify access for testing." GE is aiming to commercialize the turbine by 2021, with serial production due to commence in the second half of that year.

To date, the firm says its Haliade-X has been chosen as the preferred wind turbine for several offshore projects. These include the 3,600 MW Dogger Bank scheme in the U.K. and the 1,100 Ocean Wind project in the U.S.

As technology develops, the size of wind turbines is increasing. In September 2018, MHI Vestas Offshore Wind launched what it described as "the wind industry's first commercially available double-digit wind turbine", the V164-10.0 MW. The turbine has 80-meter long blades which weigh 35 tons each, and a tip height of around 187 meters.

As a region, Europe is a major player in the offshore wind sector. It is home to large scale projects such as Walney Extension. Officially opened in September 2018, it is located in the Irish Sea, has a total capacity of 659 MW and generates electricity for almost 600,000 homes, according to Danish energy firm Orsted.

The facility uses 87 turbines – 40 MHI-Vestas 8.25 MW turbines and 47 Siemens Gamesa 7 MW turbines – and covers an area equal to roughly 20,000 soccer pitches.

The offshore sector in the U.S., by contrast, is still relatively young. Its first offshore facility, the 30 MW Block Island Wind Farm, only commenced commercial operations in 2016. The project is located off the coast of Rhode Island and operated by Orsted.