Article by Natalia Maikranz
GE Renewable Energy has announced that it is building the largest offshore wind turbine in existence. The Haliade-X is a 12 megawatt turbine capable of generating clean electricity for 16,000 households per turbine. GE is prepared to invest $400 million over the next three to five years to develop these incredibly large turbines. The Haliade-X 12MW is in the late stages of design and is expected to appear in demonstration form in 2019. GE hopes to begin shipping the wind turbine to wind farms as early as 2021. The Haliade-X will stand at 260 meters, which is roughly 100 meters taller than the Washington Monument and will boast blades the length of a soccer field at 107 meters. One of the new wind turbines can generate 67GWh annually which is 45% more annual energy production that other wind turbines on the market. This new technology will change the game for renewable energy as bigger and more powerful turbines are greatly needed to meet the goals of a renewable energy future.
GE will invest around $100 million in a new blade manufacturing plant in Cherbourg, in western France, the plant is expected to open in 2018. The company will also invest $60 million over the next five years to help modernize and upgrade the Saint-Nazaire factory where the nacelles for the Haliade-X will be built. These investments show how far the wind turbine industry has come in a short amount of time. At one point it took 20 years to install the first 17 gigawatt of offshore wind. Now, the industry is predicting that it will be able to install more than 90 gigawatts over the next 12 years; this change is being prompted by lower cost of electricity from scale and technology. The Haliade-X will help consumers in an increasingly competitive offshore environment by providing a better value through its elevated manufacturing, installation and operation.
The Haliade-X will not only help the industry and economy of offshore wind, but it will help nations reach their energy goals. The bigger the turbine, the more economical it becomes to build them off shore and the more powerful they are, the fewer are needed to produce a certain amount of energy. In order to help fight climate change large and powerful wind turbines are a must. Investment in these wind turbines can drastically impact the reliance on non-renewable energy sources that cause high amounts of green house gas emissions. The Haliade-X is the beginning of more advanced and more efficient renewable technology that can help mitigate climate change.
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