Subsidy-Free Onshore Wind Farm Will Host First Siemens Gamesa 5-MW Turbines

Three first-of-their-kind Siemens Gamesa 5-MW wind turbines will be installed on the island of Thyholm in Denmark at a project that will be operated without subsidies.

The company announced on Dec. 19 it has entered into a contract with Torp Vind I/S for the delivery of three SG 5.0-132 models for the 15-MW Torp Vindmoellepark wind farm in the Danish municipality of Struer. The turbines will replace three old Bonus wind turbines, each which have a capacity of 1 MW, that were installed in 1999.

Siemens Gamesa has been developing the SG 5.0-132 for some time as an offering for medium-wind markets. The SG 5.0-132 geared turbine features a rotor diameter of 132 meters (m), and it is equipped with OptimaFlex, a technology that tailors solutions to customer’s specific site needs. “Optimized site design combined with a customizable product platform, based on flexible power rating, site specific towers and optimized [balance of plant] solutions, allow Siemens Gamesa to deliver reduced [levelized cost of electricity] by increasing [annual electric production] while optimizing cost,” it said.

As part of the 5.X platform, the company is also developing a 145-m version (SG 5.0-145), as well as a 155-m and 170-m version (SG 5.8), which will rate at 5.8 MW.

Torp Vind I/S, which is owned by local farmers, plans to begin installation of the turbines in late summer 2020. “Besides delivery and installation of the wind turbines, Siemens Gamesa has also sold a long-term service contract and will take on service and maintenance of the wind farm for the next 25 years,” the company said in a statement.

“We are happy that Torp Vind has renewed our long-standing partnership by choosing our new SG 5.0-132, which is specifically designed for high-wind sites,” said Mikael Nielsen, sales director at Siemens Gamesa. “We have recently introduced this type of wind turbine on the market and are happy that the first order has come from Denmark, as Denmark is one of the markets the product was developed to serve. The order shows that our product helps to secure a positive business case for our customers without public subsidies,” said Nielsen.

As Navigant analyst Jesse Broehl noted, Siemens Gamesa’s foray into the 5-MW wind turbine market is matched by other original equipment manufacturers, who are designing more turbines with higher nameplate capacities owing to a number of factors. “This includes the steady shift in Europe and other markets from generous fixed-price power contracts to highly competitive power contract auctions. These auctions squeeze power purchase agreement pricing for wind projects as low as developers and investors are willing to go,” he said.

GE Renewable Energy, for example, is aggressively marketing its 5.3-MW Cypress onshore wind turbine. On Dec. 18, the company bagged orders with Brazil’s Rio Energy for the production, delivery, installation, and commissioning of 30 Cypress onshore wind turbines, operating in a range from 4.8 MW to 5.1 MW.

In March 2019, a month after Siemens launched the Siemens Gamesa 5.X platform, Nordex launched the 5.5-MW N149/5.X, the third turbine in the Delta4000 series.The turbine is due to go into series production in 2021. Vestas in January 2019, meanwhile, launched the EnVentus platform, which will initially be available in two variants: the V150-5.6 MW and V162-5.6 MW. The platform is based on an advanced modular design. And Enercon, which launched its 7.5-MW E-126 in 2011 (but production for which it has since mothballed owing to poor sales, which it pegged on its size and transport constraints), this year began manufacturing components for E-147 EP5 machines, which have a nominal 5-MW capacity. The first EP5 projects will be installed for a wind farm in Finland.

According to WindEurope, the most powerful onshore wind turbines in Europe are installed in Norway with an average rating of 3.6 MW. Denmark, meanwhile, is leading the way on subsidy-free onshore wind farms. This May, Vestas received a milestone order from Danish foundation Hirtshals Havnefond for a 17-MW project in northwestern Denmark that will become the country’s first utility-scale, subsidy-free wind park when it is fully commissioned at the end of this year.

“The landmark project comes shortly after Denmark’s first energy-neutral auction in November 2018 that showed record-low level of subsidy prices, highlighting how the technology has matured with significant cost reductions for renewable energy projects as the result,” Vestas noted as it announced that order.

The Hirtshals project will also be community owned. Three of the turbines will be owned by the local foundation Hirtshals Havnefond and the fourth turbine will be sold in shares to local citizens and institutions, Vestas said.

Sonal Patel is a POWER senior associate editor (@sonalcpatel, @POWERmagazine)