Vestas Wind Systems has unveiled plans to develop a new 7-megawatt offshore wind turbine with a 164 metre rotor diameter that it hopes will be in production by early 2015.
The company said that the turbine has been designed for ‘North Sea conditions’ and is expected to come in time for the new round of British projects planned under Round 3 of the UK’s licensing system.
The blades for the prototype will be built at the Vestas plant on the Isle of Wight with construction of the first prototypes set to begin in Q4 2012, although the company said that plant location for the production models will depend on order commitments coming through.
The new turbine, the so-called V164-7.0 MW, has more than twice the capacity of the company’s current biggest 3 MW unit, but is still smaller than the 10 MW wind turbine, dubbed the Britannia, being built by US company Clipper for the UK.
Vestas is the current market leader, with 65% of the UK offshore market. In 2010 the company installed a total of 555 MW at the Robin Rigg, Thanet and Bligh Bank offshore wind farms.
Unvieling the turbine at a conference in London yesterday company CEO Ditlev Engel said: ’Seeing the positive indications from governments worldwide, and especially from the UK, to increase the utilisation of wind energy is indeed very promising. We look forward to this new turbine doing its part in making these political targets a reality.’
Director of Policy at RenewableUK Dr Gordon Edge, added: ‘This is a vote of confidence in the offshore wind sector, and if the conditions are right could bring significant investment to the UK.’