A new 8MW 164m rotor diameter turbine designed specifically for the offshore wind market will begin testing both onshore and offshore in 2014, according to Vestas' new chief operating officer, Jean-Marc Lechêne.
Moulds for the machine's blades are being installed at Vestas' Isle of Wight research and development centre and the hub is being cast. Lechêne was speaking in Esbjerg on Tuesday ahead of the Offshore Wind International Business2Business (OWIB) event.
Drive train testing will begin soon and “we're working hard on the foundation modelling,” added Lechêne.
Vestas recently announced that the V164 would be an 8MW-rated turbine rather than 7MW, as previously planned. Onshore prototype testing will take place at Østerild, Denmark's new turbine test centre where Siemens is already testing its 6MW 154m machine, Lechêne told Windpower Offshore. The company is looking for an offshore test site.
The world's largest manufacturer of wind turbines is going through tough times, and has made a series of announcements about job losses. It trails noticeably behind market leader Siemens in the sale of offshore turbines, and risks being left behind by the likes of Alstom, Areva, REpower and, indeed, Siemens as larger 5MW+ machines become standard for offshore wind farms.
Lechêne's statements aim to show that Vestas is prioritising rapid development of the V164 above all else.