Vestas Chief Executive Officer Ditlev Engel announced in London their new V164 wind turbine, designed specifically for offshore wind power. Optimized for conditions in the North Sea, Vestas surprised everyone with their announcement of the new seven megawatt turbine, as the announcement was only expected to be of a six megawatt turbine.
This new turbine is designed to rise 443 feet above the waves, with a rotor blades measuring a full 262 feet. This seven megawatt turbine will far surpass the current turbines offshore, with the majority maxing out at around five megawatts. This turbine will also be the first that is 100 percent dedicated to offshore placement.
Vestas plans to have the first prototype built in the fourth quarter of 2012 and full production is set to begin in the first quarter of 2015.
Wind currently accounts for only two percent of global energy, but Vestas is hoping it to provide at least ten percent in 2020. New installations of offshore turbines surged 51 percent in 2010, but Vestas is hoping for a 70 percent surge this year, with the United Kingdom being the biggest provider of wind turbine energy.
This new turbine will be capable of producing enough electricity for 6,500 homes and will make it capable of generating more electricity that any turbine currently out at sea.
Vestas says that building these turbines at sea is understandably difficult, and given that current wind conditions are changing around the world, the construction and operation could become even more difficult. However, they also say that the biggest advantage to these turbines is that there really is no limit on how big they can get. They do believe, however, that this new V164 turbine will work to see them well beyond 2020.
Production of the large and expensive V164 turbine will be conditional on previous orders of the turbine. Engel says that this will not be a production based on the old-fashioned way of they make it and hope they sell. The investment is just too large. These turbines will essentially be built to order.