Siemens Gamesa Launches 14MW Offshore Wind Turbine, World’s Largest

Siemens Gamesa on Tuesday launched the largest wind turbine ever
publicly announced, a 14-megawatt model with a 222-meter rotor
diameter meant for offshore wind farms.

Morten Pilgaard Rasmussen, head of technology at Siemens Gamesa,
told GTM the company expects to confirm its first orders for the
new turbine soon, with offers already out to a number of “global”
offshore wind developers.

The launch puts Siemens Gamesa back in first place in the
rankings for largest offshore turbines on the market.GE revealed
its 12-megawatt
Haliade-X platform
in 2018 and secured its first orders the
following year.

A 14-megawatt version of GE’s Haliade-X has been referenced in
permitting documents, according to Shashi Barla, principal analyst
for wind technology and supply chain at Wood Mackenzie. But Siemens
Gamesa’s 14-222 DD model has a slightly larger rotor diameter and
can increase its rating to 15 megawatts using a “Power Boost”
function. 

With delays to
projects
in the U.S. that plan to use the Haliade-X, both
Siemens Gamesa and GE’s 14-megawatt turbines could see their first
projects commissioned around the same time, Barla said.

Siemens Gamesa expects to install a prototype of the new
14-megawatt model in Denmark by fall 2021. That won’t stop orders 
being placed in the meantime: Offshore wind companies are used to
ordering turbines still under development given the long lead times
of projects. Or as Rasmussen puts it, they’re used to buying
“green bananas.â€

Siemens Gamesa is the world’s largest supplier of offshore wind
turbines, with a wide lead over number-two MHI Vestas, whose
largest available model today is 10 megawatts.

Bankability advantage to moving in smaller increments

Several years ago Siemens Gamesa considered jumping from 7
megawatts to 14 megawatts in one “disruptive†step, but has
opted instead for an iterative approach, Rasmussen said.

That same logic is behind the step up from 11 to 14 megawatts.
“Our next machine will also be based on similar quality as we have
today. We always add new technologies to allow for larger sizes.
But we do that in a very, very controlled way so that we are as
certain as we can be that we can ramp up fast when we deploy the
machine,†Rasmussen said. 

The
new turbine’s nacelle will weigh 500 tons, considered lightweight
by industry standards. (Credit: Siemens Gamesa)

WoodMac’s Barla said the new turbine is a “quantum leap” for
Siemens Gamesa, with a rotor diameter 10 percent larger than the
previous model. But the technology platform will still be familiar
to existing customers. 

“They’ve upgraded this technology over the past eight years.
From a project financing perspective, a bankability perspective,
that gives immense confidence to the investors backing these
projects,†said Barla.

For wind turbines, bigger isn’t always better

The launch of newer, larger turbines does not immediately
render smaller options obsolete. Rasmussen said he expects the
8-megawatt version to continue being deployed deep into this
decade. Developers will choose the best fit for their conditions,
and Siemens Gamesa’s iterative approach has left it with a
wide range of options for sale.

Going big may not be an option for some customers, with
permitting one potential obstacle. The bigger a turbine is, the
more visible it is. Objections in France on visibility grounds have
pushed projects farther out to sea. The country will host a
floating-only offshore wind tender to enable projects to be built
further out to sea.

Bigger turbines may be the best choice for developers facing
high installation costs as a result of tricky seabed conditions or
long distances to shore. In easier settings, smaller machines may
make the most economic sense, said Rasmussen.

Rasmussen declined to comment on how big turbines might get in
the future, lest those numbers come to haunt him, but neither he
nor Barla can see the technology creating a ceiling.

Installation vessels will be able to erect 14-megawatt turbines,
which are likely to be installed from 2024 onwards, but they may
struggle with even larger machines. Ultimately though, finances
might set the limit.

“I think the technology can just keep going on and on, but the
market will tell us when its no longer feasible,†said Rasmussen.
“I think, from a purely technical point of view, you could build
a really large machine. But, like with ships or aircraft, there
comes a point where it’s not economically viable anymore.”

“We are not at that point yet,†he added.

Source: FS – GreenTech Media
Siemens Gamesa Launches 14MW Offshore Wind Turbine, World’s
Largest