In another example of wind power technology increasingly moving towards economies of scale, Germany-based wind turbine company REpower has unveiled a five MW machine designed for off-shore use. With a rotor diameter of 126.5 meters and a rotor swept area of over 12,000 square meters, the new REpower 5M is now the largest wind turbine in the world, according to REpower.Husum, Germany – September 30, 2003 [SolarAccess.com] In another example of wind power technology increasingly moving towards economies of scale, Germany-based wind turbine company REpower has unveiled a five MW machine designed for off-shore use. With a rotor diameter of 126.5 meters and a rotor swept area of over 12,000 square meters, the new REpower 5M is now the largest wind turbine in the world, according to the company. The plans for the massive wind turbine were announced to the general public for the first time at the HUSUMwind 2003 trade fair which just wrapped up. The prototype will be erected onshore in early 2004 in Brunsbüttel, Schleswig-Holstein, Germany. Plans are being drawn up to erect other turbines at additional onshore test sites in preparation for a rapid market launch in 2004. It was primarily developed for offshore applications. The technical design of the offshore giant is based on the company’s MD and MM series. The REpower 5M has a modular drive train with a double bearing on the main shaft and a combined planetary/spur gearing that has been optimized for the turbine’s intended application. The longest rotor blade ever built, which was developed in cooperation with the manufacturer, LM Glasfiber A/S, ensures high yields of electrical generation. “Our development work focused in particular on maximum turbine reliability and ease of service. The REpower 5M builds on our proven turbine design, but also introduces a large number of innovative details. This has given us a pole position in the new offshore market segment,” said Chief Technology Officer Matthias Schubert. The onshore version will have a hub height of 120 meters, making the turbine as a whole over 180 meters tall. Approval for the deviation from regional planning targets has already been received. “Offshore wind power has the unlimited support of all political forces in Germany,” said Prof. Fritz Vahrenholt, CEO of REpower Systems AG. “Ambitious offshore technology is the only realistic means of achieving the government’s goal of generating 12.5 percent of energy consumption from renewable energies in 2010.” REpower is planning a rapid market launch for the 5M. Plans to erect the wind turbine at additional test sites in the course of 2004 have reached an advanced stage. REpower is also introducing a 12-year full-service maintenance package that covers all maintenance and repair work for turbines and guarantees operators 97 percent availability in the first five years, and 96 percent thereafter. In addition, RE Power founded the REpower UK joint venture at the leading trade fair for the wind industry.