Clean Power repower 6 mw offshore wind turbine

Published on March 23rd, 2012 | by Zachary Shahan


6-MW Offshore Wind Turbine Goes Up (World’s First)

March 23rd, 2012 by  

repower 6 mw offshore wind turbine

The world’s first 6-MW offshore wind turbine went up in the North Sea this week. Wind company REpower and C- Power NV, a Belgian offshore development company, installed the wind turbine, the first of 48 for the Thornton Bank II wind farm, which is being constructed approximately 28 kilometers off the Belgian coast.

The wind turbine is actually rated at 6.15 MW and is the first turbine of phase 2 of this offshore wind project — REpower has an interesting interactive image on its site where you can explore its 11 main features. “In the early hours of 21 March the rotor star was connected to the nacelle by a team of C-Power and REpower engineers and the crew of Neptune, the installation vessel of GeoSea (DEME group) carrying the components for the turbine,” REpower writes.

Here are more details for you detail-lovers:

The offshore turbine REpower 6M has the dimension of two family homes and the rotor star has a diameter of 126 metres, with a swept area greater than two football pitches.

The installation of the first 30 turbines for phase 2 of the wind farm is planned for 2012, and a further 18 are designated for installation during a third extension stage by mid-2013.

Thornton Bank Wind Farm 1 in Belgium.

Phase 1 of the Thornton Bank II wind farm was constructed in 2008 and 2009. It includes 5-MW wind turbines. More details: “The offshore wind farm, located around 28 kilometres off the Belgian coast in waters between twelve and 27 meters deep, was officially put into operation at the end of June 2009. Since it started operation, Thornton Bank generated almost 350,000 megawatt hours of electricity.”

Belgium intends to get 13% of its energy from renewable energy sources by 2020.

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About the Author

is tryin' to help society help itself (and other species) with the power of the typed word. He spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as its director and chief editor, but he's also the president of Important Media and the director/founder of EV Obsession, Solar Love, and Bikocity. Zach is recognized globally as a solar energy, electric car, and energy storage expert. Zach has long-term investments in TSLA, FSLR, SPWR, SEDG, & ABB — after years of covering solar and EVs, he simply has a lot of faith in these particular companies and feels like they are good cleantech companies to invest in.

  • Lucas Moller

    Would someone confirm my math, it looks like Thornton II is at just about a 50% CF – pretty good. It’s nice to include the MWh generated so far, but without printing the capacity (I think this is referring to the 6 5MW units) it is rather meaningless. CF like that is why they can justify these huge generators.

  • how about a ship with installed turbines generating electricity ?

  • Bob_Wallace

    Bill – resetting the thread…

    You’re experienced to know that in all endeavors there are SNAFUs.

    The first generation of onshore wind brought us a lot of nasty stuff. Not just the bird kills, but also designs that didn’t work and poor siting. Now onshore is fairly mature, we stand up wind farms in under two years (sometimes less than one) and we have the price down to sweet.

    Offshore, while becoming mature in Europe, is a new endeavor in the US. We don’t have the experienced people and likely don’t have the equipment, factories, and supply chains that we’ll need to become efficient.

    As you quote – “It’s all a technical novelty”.

    The difference between a wind turbine and a nuclear reactor is that we can install a few turbines over a short number of months and iron out the bugs. By year two the novelty should be behind. It takes a decade or so to build a single reactor.

    And, at the moment, we have almost no one experienced with building reactors in the US. Our experienced folks have retired and died off.

    IIRC at least part of the reason that Olkiluoto 3 is over budget and schedule is because concrete contractors who didn’t have reactor construction experience screwed up.

  • P Perletti

    finally a consistent research on clean energy has taken place –it is a mystery to me the fact that it took so long

  • lukealization

    First let me say, another good writeup, Zachary.

    My only concern with such large wind turbines is long term mechanical stress and breakdown. They’re built to withstand the harsh saline environment well – so that’s not an issue, but steel, aluminum, carbon fiber etc, all have their breaking points.

    10MW or 20MW turbine? That could require quite a bit of innovative engineering if you still want to use traditional materials (rather than carbon nanotubes).

    But, a 6MW or 7MW turbine? No problem, go for it. They’ll be great out where they’re going. I look forward to the completion of Thornton Bank II.

    • Thanks. I’d love to see some of these in real life, see how they compare to onshore turbines.

    • Paulturner64

      I think that there will be a cross over point where a floating vertical axis machine (as shown in several blogs a few weeks back) will become the prefered option. As you say there are structural limits, we can´t keep scaling up indefinitely unless some significant advances in materials technology occurs, whereas a floating device could be scaled up to a much greater extent. However, is there any point in going larger when we can install multiple units? Is there another balance point where the advantages of size are offset by the effect of a single machine failure?

  • Wind power scales up well.

    I wonder how the long term costs of 167 of these 6MW wind turbines compares to a nuclear power plant? The (initial) cost of the nuclear power plants proposed in Georgia is about $12 Billion each. Do these 6MW turbines cost $71 Million each?

    For nuclear energy, we also have to add all the costs of mining, refining, enriching, processing — before it even gets used for 3-6 years to boil water. Then after it is used to boil water, it has to be stored for at least 10 years, then put into very expensive and very secure long term storage. We have yet to come up with even just adequate solution for the 100,000+ YEARS that it needs to be kept safe and secure…

    We need much more wind turbines, and more solar PV and solar heat plants (to boil water without fuel!), and more tidal power and more wave power and more biogas power and more geothermal power and more small scale hydro power! If we used the flat roofs on large buildings to catch rain water, then generate electricity with it as it drops to the ground, then use the rain water for everything but drinking, that would make a lot of sense, wouldn’t it?

    • Yeah, taking full costs into account, I think there’s no way nuclear competes.

    • Bill_Woods

      Apparently they cost quite a bit.

      Thornton Bank I-III,
      1300 million euro / 326 MW = ~13 US$/W(average)

      For comparison, the Vogtle plant,
      $14 billion / 2200 MW = ~7.5 US$/W(ave).

      The Finnish reactor — after its cost overruns — is costing
      5 billion euro / 1600 MW = ~5 US$/W(ave).

      Nuclear fuel costs about 0.5¢/kW-h. US utilities are paying 0.1¢/kW-h for disposal — about $300k/ton. Not that they’re getting the service they’re paying for, but that seems more than adequate to pay for digging a deep hole in the ground.

      “If we used the flat roofs on large buildings to catch rain water, then generate electricity with it as it drops to the ground, …”

      If a 10,000 sq.ft roof were covered 10 cm deep, the water would mass about 100 tonnes. If the roof were three stories above the ground the water’s potential energy would be 10 MJ — about 3 kW-h.

      • Bob_Wallace

        Bill, I don’t think we know what the new Vogtle reactors will cost. They have yet to be built.

        And the Olkiluoto 3 price, is that the overnight or all-in price?

        • Bill_Woods

          As of now, it’s the best number we’ve got. We don’t know how it will turn out, but for the same reason, we don’t know what the wind farm will cost to build or operate either.

          I’m not sure; probably overnight.

          • Bob_Wallace

            We very much know what both onshore and offshore wind produced electricity cost.

            We may not know what the 6MW turbine at the top of the page costs, but the people installing them do. If they didn’t think this was going to be be a money maker then they wouldn’t be installing 48 of them.

            They’d be installing smaller, more profitable turbines.

            Nuclear, as you know, is unique along with coal in that they take so long to build that the real cost is around double the overnight cost.

            When I see someone talking about nuclear or coal and using overnight costs my BS detectors fire up.

            Same thing happens when someone starts talking about the price of nuclear fuel. Fuel is a small component of the price of power when considering new generation.

          • Bill_Woods

            The people building Vogtle and Summer think they know how much those will cost; they’ve got contracts and stuff. In practice, we’ll see….

            You don’t think unexpected delays and expenses can also happen with wind power?

            ‘”Everything seemed to be going perfectly,” RWE CEO Vahrenholt recalls. Until, that is, Tennet recently informed the utility about a change of plans. In a letter dated November 22, Tennet stated that inadequate funding and difficulties procuring the necessary equipment meant the envisaged timetable was no longer realistic. Completion would therefore be delayed by up to a year.

            Tennet underestimated the challenges presented by the maritime venture, and the work at depths of up to 30 meters (100 feet) under water proved extremely laborious. “It’s all a technical novelty,” says Lex Hartman, the head of Tennet’s German operations. Because of the weather conditions, engineers could only carry out much of the work between May and September, not least because the transportation of the necessary equipment couldn’t be guaranteed outside this timeframe.’

      • Hi Bill,

        I think I have heard that is you have a cubic meter of water that falls 1 meter that is worth 1kWh. So that is roughly 93 cubic meters, and the total drop would be ~9 meters, so that totals 837kWh. Combine this with 900 sq meters of solar PV and use the water for “gray water” and you have a pretty efficient system.

        Nuclear power is heavily subsidized, and theonly way that the two plants in Georgia are feasible is that they are allowed to pre-charge their customers ahead of time. You also have to count decommissioning the plant and the long term storage. Uranium is finite, and I think we have passed it’s peak — they want to mine for it near the Grand Canyon. If the USA went to 100% nuclear, the uranium would last about 6 years.

        Wind power gets cheaper over time. Sea based wind turbines are definitely much more money than land based ones, though.


        • Bill_Woods

          For a minute I thought I’d dropped a factor of 10^3 (and not for the first time). But no.

          E = m g h.
          A cubic meter of water weighs a tonne. So
          E = 1000 kg * 1 m * 10 m/s/s = 10,000 J
          = 10,000 W-s = 10,000/60/60 W-h = 2.78 W-h
          = 0.03 kW-h

          Nuclear is more expensive than gas, yes, but your comparison was with off-shore wind.

          Uranium currently costs about 0.3 ¢/kW-h generated. The supply would expand enormously for a small multiple of that price.

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