The global competition to build ever-larger offshore wind turbines continues to ramp up, with General Electric (GE) announcing the company’s renewable energy arm is developing a 17- to 18-MW model that could rival those currently being launched by Chinese groups.
“Now we are getting a very positive reception from the market with our 17-MW to 18-MW Haliade X variant off of what we’re shipping this year,” said Scott Strazik, CEO of GE Vernova, during a March 9 call with investors. Vernova is GE’s portfolio of energy businesses.
GE Renewable Energy in December of last year said its Haliade-X model, which was the first wind turbine capable of generating more than 12 MW of power, had received a full-type certificate for operations up to 14.7 MW from DNV, the world’s largest independent certification body. The designation officially made the Haliade-X the world’s most powerful wind turbine, though several groups—including CSSC Haizhuang in China—have been announcing larger models.
CSSC Haizhuang in January of this year unveiled the rotor hub and nacelle for an 18-MW offshore wind turbine prototype. The company said its H260-18MW model would have a rotor diameter of 853 feet (260 meters). As perspective, that rotor diameter is as long as the height of the Haliade-X, which has a rotor diameter of 722 feet (220 meters). CSSC Haizhuang said the H260-18MW turbine would have 420-feet-long (128-meter-long) blades with a sweep area of 570,487 square feet (53,000 square meters).
Larger wind turbines enable the capture of more wind power, which then reduces the cost of the electricity being produced. GE has not released more details of its larger turbine model.
$6 Billion Backlog of Orders
Strazik during the March 9 meeting said, “Offshore is going to be a meaningful part of the energy transition,” and said his group has “a $6 billion backlog [of orders] that we’re going to work our way through.” A spokesperson for GE Offshore Wind told POWER on March 14, “We continue to have positive conversations with our customers about the next generation of our Haliade-X technology, reinforcing the value of evolving our existing platform to meet future industry needs.”
GE’s Haliade-X has been operating for three years and is operation at several projects. It has been selected for the 3.6-GW Dogger Bank Wind Farm in the UK, as well as the 800-MW Vineyard Wind project in the U.S. Both those projects are under construction with turbines expected to be installed this year.
Strazik during the call with investors said “there’s a high likelihood that we’ll get tech selects for that next product” over the course of this year, which could enable the company to convert that interest into orders for the larger turbine over the next couple of years. He said the company is “being thoughtful about it” when it comes to production of larger wind turbines. He said the larger turbines would have “economics that we believe can be very profitable.”
—Darrell Proctor is a senior associate editor for POWER (@POWERmagazine).