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GE to build world's largest wind turbine

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Holland is a famously flat country. It’s devoid of sizeable hills and mountains, so any tall structure becomes an immediate landmark. Soon, the country will have its most impressive landmark yet- in the form of GE’s new Haliade-X: the world’s largest wind turbine.
Although it is designed for offshore use, GE's Haliade-X will initially be tested onshore.
(Image via GE).

GE has chosen a site on the outskirts of Rotterdam as the testing ground for their gigantic new wind turbine. Although the Haliade-X will ultimately be used offshore, the initial prototype will be built and tested on land, safe from the turbulent and dangerous conditions of the North Sea. Over a period of five-years, engineers from GE will put the Haliade-X through stringent stress tests.

But how big is the biggest wind turbine in the world?

It’s easy to underestimate the scale of wind turbines when their viewed from afar- but we’re sure the Haliade-X will be unmistakably gigantic. Let’s take a look at some stats… the turbine rotor alone will measure 220 metres in diameter- twice the length of a football field- and will stretch 260 metres from its base to the blade tips (nearly three times the height of the Statue of Liberty).
GE's new Haliade-X wind turbine is truly gargantuan in size- nearly three times the height of the Statue of Liberty.
(Image via GE).

Although building a wind turbine of such scale poses major engineering challenges, it pays off in the sheer amount of energy that can be generated. GE estimate that each Haliade-X wind turbine will be able to generate 12 megawatts, which is enough to power 16,000 European homes. Once located offshore in the North Sea, GE engineers calculate that a Haliade-X turbine will be able to produce 67 gigawatt-hours per year.
The blades for GE's Haliade-X turbine will be manufactured by LM Wind Power in Cherbourg, France.
(Image via GE).

Construction of the onshore prototype outside of Rotterdam is expected to begin in Summer 2019, with testing taking place towards a commercialisation date of 2021. The nacelle of the Haliade-X prototype will be assembled in Saint-Nazaire (France), while the three 107 metre-long LM Wind Power blades will be manufactured in Cherbourg (France), and the tower sections will be produced in Seville (Spain). All components will then be shipped to Rotterdam, where pre-assembly work and installation will take place.

The prototype is just one part of a $400 million investment by GE in the development of large-scale wind turbines. By scaling turbines to such an extent, GE hopes to be able to reduce the overall cost of offshore wind power and make it more competitive with other, more traditional, forms of energy generation.

Want to work on the world’s most important wind power projects?

Then register with Fircroft now. We recruit engineering and technical professionals for some of the world’s biggest renewables companies. We’ll alert you as soon as the latest job vacancies become available.
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GE to build world's largest wind turbine - Time to read 3 min
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