Plans by French industrial giant Alstom to test its 6MW Haliade wind turbine at an offshore location are on track, Windpower Offshore understands. Installation during "winter 12/13" of a single Haliade turbine remains on schedule, says the company. This will be the first offshore test of the Haliade design.
The first prototype of Alstom's 6MW machine is currently being tested at an onshore site near Nantes. It began generating power in June.
A second prototype will be installed in Belgian waters some time this coming winter, alongside 55 Vestas V90 3MW turbines, which collectively comprise the Belwind 1 offshore wind farm. Alstom needs to prevent any significant delays to the development of the Haliade, in order to ensure the machine is ready for deployment at the three offshore wind farms in French waters, being developed by an EDF-led consortium.
Originally, Alstom had also planned to install "an additional 6 pre-series machines" as part of Belwind 2. However, the operators of the Belwind concession learned in July that their application for EU NER300 funding had been unsuccessful.
They had hoped to win EU money to turn part of the Belwind 2 site into an offshore testing ground for new turbine designs. Announcing their plans in spring 2012, Belwind's operators explained that they would "test the latest turbines developed for offshore wind energy generation to find the lowest cost of energy".
As previously reported by Windpower Offshore, NER300 funds have instead been provisionally awarded, to RWE's Nordsee 1 project.