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Skyscraper-Sized Wind Turbines Set to Boost Offshore Power Potential

  • General Electric enters the offshore wind industry with an 853-foot prototype capable of producing up to 14 megawatts of power
  • Company says the larger size allows the turbine to generate more power at lower speed and makes it less susceptible to changes in wind speed
  • Orsted is among the developers that have expressed interest, placing a preliminary order for an offshore wind farm off New Jersey

General Electric is literally betting big on the growing offshore wind industry, debuting an enormous wind turbine with the capacity to power a small town on its own.

The prototype Haliade-X is the largest wind turbine ever built, standing 853 feet tall and having a rotor diameter of 722 feet. Each turbine will have a capacity of 12 to 14 megawatts, enough to produce power for approximately 12,000 homes. GE says a single turn of the rotors generates enough power to provide electricity to a United Kingdom home for two days.

While the first prototype built is situated on land in Rotterdam in the Netherlands, the Haliade-X is planned for offshore use. GE says the larger size makes the turbine less vulnerable to changes in wind and more capable of generating power at lower wind speeds, while the offshore siting allows it to take advantage of stronger and more reliable breezes. The high generating capacity also allows developers to site fewer turbines in each wind farm.

Offshore wind has been gaining traction in the United States as well as Asia, with several developments planned off the East Coast. Orsted, a Danish developer involved in the redevelopment of State Pier in New London to help support offshore wind operations, has made a preliminary agreement to purchase 90 Haliade-X turbines for a development off the coast of New Jersey.

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