This week marks an important milestone in the history of wind power generation. The news comes from Belgium, where the Belwind Wind Farm has just announced the successful installation of the largest of all offshore wind turbine.
The renewable energy monster has a tower, which extends up to 78 meters in height, and a set of three blades, each of 73 meters in length. The French makers, Alstom, claim that the 6 MW turbine, will generate as much as 15% more energy than any other wind turbine currently in operation.
Prior to its installation in Belgium, the wind turbine was subjected to quite an extensive number of tests in France over the past few years. Eventually, in 2012, Heliade 150 was able to obtain the precious IEC power performance measurement. Although France proved to be a suitable testing ground, Alstom selected the Ostend Harbour in Belgium as their pilot location because the offshore environmental conditions meet all the specific requirements for which the turbine was designed.
The Heliade 150 wind turbine symbolizes the beginning of the development of a brand new set of technologies, which are expected to completely transform wind power generation, or at least this is what the guys at Alstom and their partners from Belwind, hope to demonstrate in Belgium. The turbine has the capacity to supply energy to nearly 5,000 households, while at the same time requires much less maintenance than a typical one. The features that make Heliade 150 better than any other wind turbine include a reliable and cost effective permanent generator, no gearbox and significantly fewer mechanical parts.
It is likely that we will not know the true capabilities of the technology before next year, however we can only hope that it will meet the high expectations and indeed pave the way to clean, reliable and energy efficient future.