An offshore windfarm boasting the most powerful turbines to be commercially deployed anywhere in the world has been officially opened by Scottish first minister Nicola Sturgeon.
Vattenfall’s European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre in Aberdeen Bay consists of 11 V164 turbines supplied by MHI Vestas – two with a maximum output of 8.8MW and nine 8.4MW versions.
As the name indicates, the turbines have a rotor diameter of 164 metres – larger than that of the London Eye.
With a combined capacity of 93.2MW, they will produce enough electricity each year to meet 70 per cent of Aberdeen’s annual needs. The first 8.8MW turbine was installed in April and the windfarm began generating power in late July.
Sturgeon said: “I am proud that as part of this ground-breaking project, the world’s most powerful offshore wind turbines are now up and running in Scotland.
“The European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre will maintain Scotland’s reputation for innovation in low carbon and renewable energy development and deployment.
“A single rotation of one of these 8.8MW turbines will generate enough energy to power a home for 24 hours which truly shows the potential of this technology to strengthen Scotland’s renewable energy generating capacity in the future.”
The project, which was supported by a €40 million grant from the European Union, has pushed Vattenfall’s total operational wind capacity in the UK past the one gigawatt mark. The Swedish energy company has invested £3.5 billion in the sector over the course of almost a decade.
“Vattenfall is in Britain to grow,” said Magnus Hall, Vattenfall chief executive and president.
He said: “The success of our wind power investments over the past decade, and the ambition of Scottish and UK governments to transform the energy and transport sectors, gives us confidence in our UK future.
“As we forge new partnerships in heat, e-mobility, retail, power distribution and wind over the next ten years we will be at the forefront of the UK’s decarbonisation of energy.”
The base model of the V164 turbine has a maximum output of 8MW and was first commercially deployed at the Burbo Bank Extension offshore windfarm in Liverpool Bay. An 8.25MW version has been used for the Walney Extension project, which became the world’s largest offshore windfarm when it opened last week.
MHI Vestas has previously installed an even more powerful 9MW prototype at the Osterild test centre in Denmark, later upgrading the turbine to 9.5MW before it caught fire in August last year due to a faulty component.
The 9.5MW model has been selected for use at the Triton Knoll and Moray East offshore wind projects, both of which won contracts for difference in the latest auction in September at respective strike prices £74.75/MWh and £57.50/MWh.
In March, GE Renewable Energy unveiled plans to invest $400 million over the next three to five years in the development of a new 12MW turbine, known as Haliade-X, with a 220-metre-wide rotor and a tip height of 260 metres.