Vestas now has 6 MW ambitions

1 June 2010

After some troubled years with its workhorse V90 3MW machine caused mainly by gearbox problems,Vestas returned to the offhsore market in earnest in the autumn of last year with an upgrade of its 3 MW model, now called the V112: and soon after came an announcement that, following several years of rumours that it was developing a 4.5 MW machine, the company was working on the development of a new 6 MW model.

In recent years the company has lost offshore market share to Siemens, and like all makers is suffering from the dip that has followed the recent boom – the depth of the recession in the industry can be gauged from the fact that a relatively modest new contract signing by Vestas, to supply 93 MW in China, sent its shares up 6% – but aims to recapture it with the new V112-3.0 MW offshore model. According to the company, this new flagship turbine will deliver optimal output in average wind speeds up to 9.5 m/s and will be individually IECS class certified for each separate offshore project.

The new 3MW machine, launched in the autumn at the same time as Vestas released better than expected figures for its Q3 earnings, is optimised for the conditions at sea and is intended to be a hard working, reliable turbine. It is claimed to be able to generate more power than any other turbine in the 3 MW class. It offers an exceptional rotor-to-generator ratio for greater efficiency, and is claimed to deliver high reliability, serviceability and availability under all wind and weather conditions. Vestas has also joined a research programme, with Nowitech of Norway, to develop floating foundations suitable for water depths of more than 30 metres.

The company is currently installing two V112-3.0 prototypes onshore and intends first serial delivery in 2011, a company spokesman stated. Unlike the lightweight V90-3.0 MW turbine previously installed in several offshore wind farms, the new flagship unit features a conventional non-integrated geared drive system and, in a novelty for Vestas, a permanent magnet-type synchronous generator.

6 MW giant

To further support its offshore effort (and financial ones – Vestas plans to increase its annual revenue to €15 billion by 2015) and as an antidote to the general industry wide reduction in new orders, Vestas has announced its ambition to develop a new 6 MW offshore turbine with a 130–140 metre rotor diameter. Other technical specifications and the release time scale have not yet been made available, but the general consensus among industry experts is that it will be a direct drive turbine fitted with a Vestas-designed annular generator.

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