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The race to roll out ‘super-sized’ wind turbines is on


Photo taken in the Netherlands of a Haliade X wind turbine on March 2, 2022. Haliade-X is one of many new large turbines to come in the future.

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The Vineyard Wind 1 project, which is estimated to be 800 megawatts in capacity and located 15 miles from Martha’s Vineyard, will soon become a crucial piece of America’s future energy supply. It’s described as the “first commercial-scale offshore wind farm”

Construction of Vineyard Wind 1 started last year,The facility will be powered by 13 MW HaliadeX turbines from GE Renewable Energy. The Haliade-X has a height up to 260m (853ft), a diameter of 220m and blades measuring 107 meters. It is one of many new turbines that will be built in the coming years.

Additionally, GEOthers are also getting into the big turbine business. China’s MingYang Smart Energy will be available in August 2021 released details of a 264-meter tall designThis will require 118-meter blades.

Vestas in Denmark is developing a turbine of 15 megawatts. The turbine will have a diameter of 236m and a blade length 115.5m. Siemens Gamesa Renewable EnergyA turbine with a blade diameter of 108 meters and a rotating diameter at 222m is being developed by the company.

There are obvious reasons why these turbines have grown in size. The U.S. Department of Energy states that turbine towers rise in height because winds tend to increase with increasing altitudes.

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It’s not only for show, but a bigger diameter rotor can also be used to produce more electricity. The DOE stated that larger rotors “allow windturbines to sweep greater areas, capture more winds, and generate more power.”

The same applies to blades. The DOE says longer blades can “capture more of the available wind than shorter blades—even in areas with relatively less wind.”

It’s great that huge turbines are now available on the marketplace. However, the sheer size of these machines could present a few challenges mid-to long term for the sector.


Installations. Installations are possible in February research from Rystad EnergyThese issues are related to ships that install offshore wind farms at sea.

It said that wind turbines, not counting China, had experienced what it described as “a growth spurt” in the recent years. They have grown from an average 3MW (MW) per year in 2010 to 6.5MW today.

It explained that this shift was expected to continue. It explained that turbines greater than 8MW made up only 3% of all global installations in 2010-2021. However, this percentage will rise to 53% by 2030.

All data above is for offshore wind turbines. Energy research firm business intelligence says the demand for offshore wind turbine-equipped vessels will outstrip the supply of these devices by 2024.

The report stated operators “will need to invest in new ships or upgrade their existing vessels in order to install the super-sized generators expected to become the norm before the end of this decade. Or the pace of offshore wind projects could slow down.”

Martin Lysne (Senior Analyst for Rigs and Vessels at Rystad Energy), stated in a statement that “When turbines weren’t as small, it was possible to install them by either the first-generation fleets of offshore wind ships or the converted jackups used in the oil and gasoline industry.”

Lysne indicated that larger turbines are still preferred by operators and that new, purpose-built vessels would be required to fulfill the demand.

These specialized vessels don’t come cheap. U.S. company Dominion EnergyThe 472-foot Charybdis will be built by a consortium headed up by. With the increasing number of turbines, there will be more Charybdis vessels.

Rystad Energy analysis shows that only a few units are capable of installing 10MW+ turbines out of the existing fleet. None can currently install 14MW+ turbines. As newbuilds begin to arrive and older vessels receive crane upgrades, this will all change by 2025. 


It will continue to be vital to have ships capable of transporting turbines and installing them. But, ports that dock at these areas will need to be upgraded and invested in to support wind energy growth.

Rystad Energy’s Lysne wrote that port infrastructure is “very important” for vessels in a CNBC email comment.

Installment vessels docked at Ostend in Belgium. The wind energy industry is calling for substantial investment in port infrastructure, to support the expansion of wind farms.

Philippe Clément/Arterra | Universal Images Group | Getty Images

It appears that much more money is needed in the future. According to WindEurope, Europe’s ports were rated the worst in May by a report. would have to invest 6.5 billion eurosIn order to support offshore wind expansion, the estimated value of $7.07 billion will increase by 2030.

This report dealt with the impact of larger turbines on ports and infrastructure. It stated that larger turbines require new or upgraded facilities to accommodate them.

WindEurope indicated that port authorities would have to expand their land and strengthen quays as well as enhance deep-sea ports. They also will need to carry out civil work.

A report by the Global Wind Energy Council reinforced port importance even more recently.

The report stated, “Ocean wind projects are expanding and commercial-scale floating turbine projects proliferate. Port upgrades will be crucial to the future success” of the industry.

Brussels-based organisation said that turbine sizes have “increased significantly” over the past decade and noted that 15MW turbines are available.

Experts predict that turbines of 17 MW will become commonplace in 2035,” the report said. It also stated that floating offshore wind projects are being “developed at huge volumes.”

These “floating project” required “significant quayside assembly and storage”, necessitating larger facilities, more connective transport links inside ports and deeper-water ports, and greater space.

“Port upgrades are essential for offshore wind development, and several countries have recognized this fact,” said the New York State Department of State.

Wind turbines will grow in size and the vessel used for transporting their components will need to change.

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In relation to ports, Rystad Energy’s Lysne told CNBC that the U.S. — whose current offshore wind market is small — would “require more work as they do not have the same infrastructure in place as Europe.”

There is some hope for change on this front. The beginning of March saw the following: BPAnd Equinor — two businesses better known as oil and gas producers — signed an agreement to convert the South Brooklyn Marine Terminal into an offshore wind port.

Equinor announced that the port will be “a cutting-edge facility for Equinor’s Empire Wind, and Beacon Wind project.” It claimed that the port would serve as a “go-to destination” for future offshore projects. The estimated investment in infrastructure improvements will be between $200 and $250 million.

What lies ahead

This all points to the importance infrastructure and logistics. CNBC spoke with Shashi Barla who, as Wood Mackenzie’s global head for the wind supply chain and technology, said that even though companies were technologically capable, logistical problems proved to be very difficult.

“It’s not that it is something new … we have been talking about logistics challenges since day one of the industry,” Barla said. “It is that…we are now, in fact, near the tipping mark.”

Major economies are found all over the globe. are announcing plans to ramp up wind energy capacityIn an effort to decrease our dependence on fossil fuels.

The logistical problems faced by this sector will increase as the number of components in wind turbines increases. From August 2021 this image shows a long-lasting rotor blade that measures 69 meters in length being shipped to Germany.

Endrik Baublies | Istock Editorial | Getty Images

These goals may seem ambitious but they will face many obstacles. It will take a huge effort, despite the problems related to turbine sizes. It’s a lot of work.   

The GWEC report stated that “Increasingly, a shortage of facilitating infrastructure has been seen as a significant limiting factor in wind industry growth.”

The report stated, “In many nations, lack of infrastructure such as grids, transmission networks, logistic highways, and ports is restricting the expansion of wind energy and stifling innovative thinking necessary to transform our energy system.”

These issues are not the only ones to consider. Wind turbines interaction with animals will be a major topic of discussion.

The U.S. Department of Justice just announced last week that ESI Energy Inc. had been incorporated. had “pled guilty to three counts of violating the MBTA,” or Migratory Bird Treaty Act.

Wind energy will see a huge expansion as the 21st Century progresses. But the road ahead is not smooth. The U.N. Secretary-General recently warned that the world was at risk. “sleepwalking to climate catastrophe,”The stakes could not be higher.