25th May 2020
Giant new offshore wind turbine to debut in 2024
Spanish engineering company Siemens Gamesa has revealed a new offshore wind turbine, set to become the world's largest and most powerful, with serial production planned for 2024.
Pictured here is the SG 14-222 DD – a giant new offshore wind turbine, currently in the planning stages by Siemens Gamesa. A working prototype is expected to be ready in 2021, with commercial availability following in 2024. These turbines will feature the world's largest rotor diameter at 222 m (728 ft) and a nominal capacity of 14 megawatts (MW), with a "Power Boost" mode up to a massive 15 MW. For comparison, the most powerful now is General Electric's Haliade-X (currently a prototype) with 12 MW.
This huge capacity will enable a single machine to meet the annual energy needs of 18,000 average European households. The rotor design incorporates new Siemens Gamesa B108 blades. As long as almost three Space Shuttles placed end-to-end, each 108 m (354 ft) blade is cast in one piece. All three turbines combined have a swept area of 39,000 m2 – equivalent to 5.5 standard football pitches. The end result is an increase of more than 25% in energy production compared to the company's earlier SG 11.0-200 DD.
Furthermore, the new offshore giant features a relatively low nacelle weight at 500 metric tons. This will enable Siemens Gamesa to safely utilise an optimised tower and foundation substructure compared to a heavier nacelle. A major advantage here is lower costs per turbine, by minimising sourced materials and reducing transportation needs.
To date, over 1,000 Direct Drive (DD) offshore wind turbines have been installed by Siemens Gamesa in all major markets globally. They include the UK, Germany, Denmark, The Netherlands, Belgium, and Taiwan, among others. Confirmed orders for an additional 1,000 have been received, with installations planned for the markets mentioned above, plus new offshore markets including the USA and France.
Offshore wind is a rapidly growing industry and forecast to see a 15-fold increase in capacity by 2040, with around $1 trillion of cumulative investment. Improvements in technology and price performance, made possible by projects like the SG 14-222 DD, will enable this exponential progress to continue.
General Electric's Haliade-X, mentioned earlier, is likely to be the main competitor for this machine and the first units will ship in 2021. Siemens Gamesa's model will have the edge in terms of capacity and dimensions when it launches commercially in 2024. Together, these two enormous turbines will represent a new era of giant offshore wind plants – boosting efforts to decarbonise energy systems and cut air pollution. If these advances continue, then perhaps by 2030 we could see the first project that exceeds 300 m (~1,000 ft) for rotor and base, a height that is normally associated with "supertall" skyscrapers.
"We've gone bigger for the better," says Markus Tacke, CEO of Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy. "Safely and sustainably providing clean energy for our customers and society-at-large is at the core of all we do. The new SG 14-222 DD is a global product which allows all of us take giant steps towards protecting and preserving our planet. We ourselves became carbon neutral in late 2019 and are on track towards meeting our long-term ambition of net-zero CO2 emissions by 2050. Our installed fleet of over 100 GW both offshore and onshore abates more than 260 million tons of CO2 emissions annually."
"Offshore is in our DNA," says Andreas Nauen, CEO of the Siemens Gamesa Offshore Business Unit. "Since we helped create the offshore wind industry in 1991, we've been determined to safely increase operational performance, minimise technology risks, and create a consistently lower Levelised Cost of Energy. The SG 14-222 DD demonstrates our drive to lead the way in a world powered by clean energy. In fact, just one unit will avoid 1.4 million tons of CO2 emissions compared to coal-fired power generation over the course of its projected 25-year lifetime."