China will build wind turbines almost as big as the Eiffel Tower. It is something in which Europe cannot yet compete
In the race for the world’s largest wind turbine, China is the only runner. The Chinese wind industry already doubled that of Europe in generating capacity, and now threatens to also double the size of its wind turbines.
Shovels that would overshadow a skyscraper. The Chinese group Mingyang Smart Energy Group has just announced a 22 megawatt offshore wind turbine with a rotor no less than 310 meters in diameter. As Bloomberg says , an Eiffel Tower almost fits in the path of its blades.
What is most notable, however, is the speed at which Mingyang has been scaling its turbines. The same company that presented an 18 MW offshore wind turbine with a 280 meter diameter rotor in January says it will have this 22 MW turbine ready by 2025. Mingyang leaves even local competitors like Dongfang, which just six days ago presented an 18 MW model with 262 meters of rotor.
In search of maximum efficiency. The size of a turbine is directly proportional to the amount of power it can generate: longer blades capture more wind and therefore generate more power . This advantage is especially exploited in offshore wind farms, where the winds are stronger and more constant, and there are fewer geographical restrictions on installing larger wind turbines (not to mention the visual impact).
With a 310 meter diameter rotor, the new Mingyang wind turbine is capable of generating 22 MW of power
Larger turbines are more expensive to produce and transport, but in return they generate the same capacity with fewer installations than smaller ones, which ultimately reduces the costs of wind projects.
Too big for some markets. Mingyang is not limited to offshore wind energy, and last week it also presented its largest land turbine: 11 MW and with a rotor the diameter of a football field. This type of generators, however, is beginning to be too large for some markets, both due to the logistics of its transportation and the restrictions on its installation.
In Europe, even marine turbines have stopped growing. The European record is a ‘bare’ 15 MW with 236 meters of rotor, notes WindLetter . And it is a strategic question. The Danish company Vestas, the largest wind turbine manufacturer in the world, asked the industry to stop the development of increasingly larger and more powerful turbines to accelerate their offshore implementation .