MHI Vestas announced this week that it will provide its 9.5 megawatt (MW) wind turbines to the 224 MW Northwester 2 offshore wind farm set to be developed in Belgian waters, making it the first time the record-setting 9.5 MW wind turbine will be installed and operational anywhere in the world.
Formed in 2014 by Vestas Wind Systems A/S and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, MHI Vestas is the world’s largest offshore wind-focused wind turbine manufacturer, and in June of last year it unveiled to the world its V164-9.5 MW wind turbine, the most powerful wind turbine currently available in the world. Measuring in with 80-meter long blades that have a swept area of 21,124 meters-squared, the turbine is bigger than the London Eye and a single turbine alone can power 8,300 average households.
Of course, since June the offshore wind turbine arms race has continued apace, with both MHI Vestas and GE Renewable Energy making significant strides. Earlier this month MHI Vestas installed an 8.8 MW wind turbine at Vattenfall’s European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre off the coast of North East Scotland, which is currently the world’s largest wind turbine in operation. However, in early March GE Renewable Energy unveiled its mammoth 12 MW Haliade-X offshore wind turbine, and just this week confirmed it would be heading to the UK’s Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult for advanced testing.
Until the Haliade-X enters operation, however, and assuming no competitors have an ace up their sleeves, MHI Vestas will hold on to the title of world’s largest wind turbine in operation and will top it themselves when it begins installing its V164-9.5 MW wind turbines at Belgium’s Northwester 2 offshore wind farm.
The 224 MW Northwester 2 offshore wind farm was confirmed for development in October of 2017 by Belgian authorities, set to be built by offshore wind developer Parkwind with construction starting in 2019. Upon completion, the project will bring Belgium closer towards its contribution to the European 20/20 Climate targets, and will host the world’s most powerful wind turbines — for a time.
“The Northwester 2 timing and general schedule is very challenging in the light of the timing wanted by the Belgian government,” said the co-CEO’s of Parkwind, Eric Antoons & François Van Leeuw. “This challenging timeline has played an important role in the choice for MHI Vestas as turbine supplier having the capability of delivering the V164-9.5 MW. Parkwind is very delighted to have MHI Vestas for the fourth time as a partner.”
Northwester 2 will be made up of only 23 wind turbines for a collective capacity of 224 MW, and will generate enough clean electricity to supply approximately 220,000 Belgian homes. On top of that, the project is expected to provide more than 1,000 direct and indirect jobs throughout the construction phase and another 100 long-term jobs during operation.
“We are delighted to sign our fourth project with Parkwind – and it is a historic one,” added MHI Vestas CEO, Philippe Kavafyan. “The first commercial installation of the world’s most powerful available turbine, the V164-9.5 MW, will be a Parkwind project, which is significant for our company and a notable milestone for the industry.”
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