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Industry News

Vestas Announces Plans for 7 MW Offshore Wind Turbine

LCG, March 31, 2011--Vestas announced yesterday plans to produce a new, 7.0-MW wind turbine for offshore power generation. The V164-7.0 MW turbine will have a rotor diameter of 164 meters. Prototype production is scheduled for late 2012, with serial production scheduled to commence in early 2015.

The President of Vestas Offshore stated, "We expect the major part of offshore wind development to happen in the Northern part of Europe, where the conditions at sea are particularly rough. Based on our broad true offshore experience and our many years as pioneers within the offshore wind industry, we have specifically designed the V164-7.0 MW to provide the highest energy capture and the highest reliability in this rough and challenging environment. This makes our new turbine an obvious and ideal choice for instance for many UK Round 3 projects."

According to Vestas, "the innovative part of the new turbine is, along with a wide range of technical features, its size and consequently much increased energy capture whereas the proven technology is represented by, among other things, the medium-speed drive-train solution."

The President of Vestas Technology R&D stated, "We actually kept all options open from the start, running two separate parallel R&D development tracks; One focusing on direct drive and one on a geared solution. It soon became clear that if we wanted to meet the customers? expectations about lowest possible cost of energy and high business case certainty we needed a perfect combination of innovation and proven technology and so the choice could only be to go for a medium-speed drive-train solution."

Last month, Alstom and LM Wind Power announced plans to jointly develop a new, 6-MW offshore wind turbine. The prototype blades will be manufactured with relatively lighter glass fiber and polyester materials at LM Wind Power's Danish factory in Lunderskov, with plans for installation at Alstom prototype sites in Europe next winter. The Alstom turbine will employ a permanent magnet direct drive system in which the hub of the turbine rotor is directly connected to the generator, thereby eliminating the use of a mechanical gearbox coupled to the generator. The design objective is a compact, lightweight machine with lower service costs and improved operating efficiency.

Offshore wind development is growing at a rapid pace in Europe. In January, the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA) released information that a total of 883 MW of new capacity was installed in 2010 at nine wind farms in five countries, thereby increasing the European offshore total to 2,964 MW. The United Kingdom leads Europe, with nearly half of the offshore capacity.

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