Wind turbine: bigger is better
This is the direction took by the major wind turbine constructors: bigger is better! Senvion, Adwen, MHI Vestas and Siemens, all of them are designing wind turbine ever larger. For now the MHI Vestas V184 8MW is the largest wind turbine, but 3 weeks ago Siemens Wind Power CEO Michael Hannibal teased a future generation of 10MW wind turbine.
"Size matters when we talk cost. [...] The current platform that we're working with now is the 6MW, 7MW (D7 wind turbine). Going towards 2025 there will be a new platform introduced. And as history has told, it will get bigger.” He said. "It is not totally locked on the rotor size but a D10 would be good"
According to a study conducted by Marloes Caduff and his associates at the Zurich Institute of Environmental Engineering in Zurich “the larger the wind turbine is, the greener the electricity becomes.”
The advances in materials have allowed the turbines to dramatically increase in size without a corresponding increase in mass. That way, blades can be larger and capture much more wind while the tower and other parts can remain unchanged.
The increased size of the turbines actually saves materials and assembly cost by reducing the number of total turbines needed to produce the same amount of power.
The first wind turbines
In the 1970’s Vestas, the worlds leading wind manufacturer, released a turbine capable of producing 33KW of energy. The turbine had a blade diameter of 10m. In 1991 Siemens launched the first offshore wind farm in the world, with 11 wind turbines had 35m diameter. Today it seems to be insignificant in view of current wind turbine size.