In the onshore segment, REpower presented a 50 Hz version of its new MM100 wind turbine last autumn. With rated capacity of 2 MW, 100 metre rotor diameter and a 100 metre tower, the turbine was specially developed for low-wind speed locations. A prototype of the MM100 50 Hz is to be constructed in mid-2012 and the serial launch is planned for 2013. The MM series first began production in 2002.
'We are currently experiencing great demand for large-rotor turbines,' explained Andreas Nauen, CEO of REpower at the launch. With a claimed 104.8 dB(A), the MM100 is also the quietest turbine of its class, REpower says.
In mid-March Siemens launched its new gearless wind turbine for low to moderate wind speeds, the SWT-2.3-113, with a prototype of the new machine installed in the Netherlands. Featuring direct drive and a compact permanent magnet generator, with a capacity of 2.3 MW and a rotor diameter of 113 metres the new machine is designed to maximise power production at sites with low to moderate wind speeds. It is fitted with the Siemens B55 Quantum Blades. To date, Siemens has installed and commissioned a total of five gearless SWT-3.0-101 wind turbines in Denmark and Norway.
This year Dutch wind turbine manufacturer Lagerwey Systems completed installation two of its new L93-2.6 MW turbines at Test Site Lelystad in the Netherlands. The project was funded by standard wind farm financing from Rabo Bank in the Netherlands. The turn-key project also includes a long-term full service agreement for the installed turbines with Lagerwey Systems.
Lagerwey Wind expects the A certificate for L93-2.6MW to be obtained during 2012. With the launch of L93-2.6MW, the company is now dedicating resources to design and develop a new 3.5 MW wind onshore turbine in 2012-13. The company also has a conceptual design for the 6 MW offshore turbine and is considering developing the turbine with selected strategic partners for mass production.
Also set to undergo testing at Lelystad is Leitwind's new generation of direct drive wind turbines, the LTW101 and LTW104 for both medium and low wind speed regions. The new turbines operate with a synchronous generator using permanent magnets.
The LTW101 is a 3 MW wind turbine for medium wind sites and the LTW104 is a 2-2.5 MW machine for medium and low wind sites. Furthermore there is a choice of two different hub heights, 95 metres and 143 metres. The first prototype of the LTW101 IIA will be installed this year while the new prototypes of the LTW104 are due to start trial operations at the end of 2012.
GE has also revealed a new onshore machine for the European market with the debut of its 1.6-100 turbines for Fina Enerji's Tayakadin wind project in Istanbul, Turkey. 'GE's 1.6-100 technology builds on the broad experience of our 1.5 and 2.5 MW series, with more than 17,500 of those units installed today,' said Stephan Ritter, general manager of GE's Renewable Energy business in Europe. Featuring a 100 metre rotor diameter and 80 metre hub height, the 1.6-100 provides the highest capacity factor of any wind turbine for class III sites, GE claims. GE also announced a new maintenance tool - PulsePOINT Advanced Monitoring and Diagnostic Services - which it says helps reduce costs and achieve optimal energy production by increasing reliability. The system collects wind farm and fleet data from hundreds of turbine sensors and key SCADA control parameters.
Meanwhile, Nordex - which recently announced plans to withdraw from offshore and sell the assets - has showcased new towers for the N117/2400 onshore turbine, which it is now offering on 91 metre and 120 metre tubular steel towers as well as in Europe on a 141 metre hybrid tower, again for low wind areas in difficult or complex terrain.
With new designs and upgrades evidently coming thick and fast, the broad trends that are seeing firms move towards larger offshore machines and extend the low wind performance of their portfolios look set to continue. As always, the next few years will see tomorrow's projects populated with today's prototypes.
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