Commercialisation of Siemens’ next-generation 6MW turbine, designed specifically for the offshore wind market, took a step forward this past weekend, with a single machine installed at an onshore location in Denmark beginning a crucial two-year test.
The direct-drive 6MW turbine began operation on 6 October, boasting a 154m rotor and the world’s longest rotor blades to date, at 75m.
Siemens expects the turbine "to become the new benchmark" for the offshore wind industry, replacing its 3.6MW machine, which has dominated the market.
"The start of field testing of the 154m rotor for the 6-MW is an exciting step in the development of competitive technologies for the large offshore wind farms of the future," says Henrik Stiesdal, chief technology officer of Siemens Energy’s wind power division.
Describing the new machine as a "milestone in wind energy technology," Stiesdal emphasised the gains made by Siemens in wind turbine design: "Compared to our first 30-kilowatt turbine, which we developed 30 years ago, the new STW-6.0-154 will produce over a thousand times more energy per year."
The onshore test at Østerild also represents the first use by a turbine manufacturer of Denmark’s new national turbine test centre. Eventually, the centre will boast seven grid-connected testing plots. Another manufacturer planning to make use of the centre’s facilities is Envision.
Dong Energy has already ordered 300 of the 6MW turbines and the two companies are collaborating on a two-turbine offshore test of the new design at Dong’s UK site, Gunfleet Sands 3. The turbines destined for Gunfleet Sands 3 will have 120m rotors. A 120m version of the 6MW turbine has been in operation onshore in Denmark since May 2011, at the Høvsore test site.
In 2011, Siemens generated €30bn in wind energy-related revenue.