As per European Commission reports, Europe will require around 450 GW of offshore wind by 2050 which will be 30% of Europe’s electricity demand in 2050.
However, several economic, technical, social and environmental aspects inhibit the development of wind parks to meet these targets. One of the challenges is the design and optimization of large wind turbines, in terms of material use and reliability.
The EU seeks to improve European competitiveness on wind energy as outlined in the European Strategic Energy Technology Plan, which is focused on developing large-scale turbines in the range 10-20 MW, to reach 450 GW as part of the Commission scenario to deliver climate neutrality by 2050.
The larger wind turbines are much more beneficial compared to the smaller wind turbines as they produce more energy more efficiently. In the last 2-3 decades the rated effect of wind turbines have risen from the kW range to the MW range. The largest turbine sizes in operation are:
The natural next iteration is to design a 15 MW wind turbine. Therefore, one of the objectives in the UPWARDS project is to develop a 15MW virtual wind turbine. This has been designed by Siemens Gamesa (one of the project partners) together with SINTEF (the project coordinator). Furthermore, the wind turbine specifications will soon be publicly available.
Authors: Balram Panjwani, Sintef Industry & Søren Randrup Daugaard Henrichsen, Siemens Gamesa
Edited by: Gary Grima & Olena Malchyk, Wavestone