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Meet The New World's Biggest Wind Turbine

The newest king of offshore wind turbines represents not only the latest example of partnership in the offshore wind sector — but also the return of the longtime wind turbine leader.

Last week Vestas claimed the crown of the largest wind turbine on the planet generating electricity, with the installation of its V164-8.0-MW prototype at the Danish National Test Center for Large Wind Turbines in Østerild. The turbine's destiny is to be the flagship of the previously announced joint venture between Vestas and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) that will combine their respective technologies and expertise, and likely inroads into Japan's fledgling offshore wind market.

Vestas claims the new 8-MW turbine, which it aims to be in mass production next year, will generate 30 percent more power than the current record-holding turbine. Its stats are eye-opening:

  • Tower height: 140-meters
  • Tip height: 220 meters
  • Swept area: 21,000 m2

Here's some behind-the-scene footage of the turbine, courtesy of Bloomberg.

The title for "world's largest offshore wind turbine" was held by Samsung Heavy Industries' S7.0-171 7-MW turbine, which is now being installed offshore at Fife, Scotland. Here's a roundup of other large offshore wind turbines which were on display at last fall's EWEA Offshore 2013 conference and expo.

The V164-8.0 MW nacelle prototype. Credit: Vestas.

On the one hand, this new giant codeveloped wind turbine is the latest example illustrating the trend of wind energy companies joining forces to pursue and develop offshore wind opportunities.

But it's also part of the comeback story of Vestas, which has been mired in two years of broad cost-cutting reorganization and was toppled from its longtime #1 position. The past year has seen gradual improvements but also changes including a new CEO and outsourcing some operations. Today the company capped off its turnaround with the announcement of its first quarterly profit since 2011 — and to celebrate it's issuing more shares to raise capital (no time like the debt-free present) and renegotiating a bigger €850 million credit line with banks.

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