Goldwind's 6MW prototype ready for testing

Turbine makers line up to take advantage of projected growth

Chinese wind turbine maker Goldwind has completed assembling a 6MW direct-drive permanent magnet offshore prototype turbine for testing at its manufacturing base in Dafeng, east China’s Jiangsu province. Goldwind has not said when and where it will install the prototype for pilot operation.

Goldwind said the 6MW model, which upgrades a previous 5MW turbine development project, boasts a light nacelle and a relatively small size, which would cut maintenance costs and make the model competitive in the market. Other Chinese manufacturers of direct-drive permanent magnet offshore turbine are XEMC and Dongfang Electric. The latter announced plans to install its 5.5MW prototype last week.

Goldwind has made slower progress than expected in developing its 6MW turbine. A prototype was due to be tested and grid-connected by early 2012, with series production scheduled for 2014. Goldwind has now said it will accelerate the pace of progress by closing its multi-megawatt turbine development centre in east China’s Nanjing city and shifting nearly CHY 30m ($4.3m) to its Dafeng offshore wind turbine development and manufacturing base. Previously, in 2011, Goldwind had already transferred CHY 89.6m from the Nanjing project to the Dafeng project.

Goldwind introduced direct-drive permanent magnet turbine technology in 2002 and purchased a 70% equity share in German technology pioneer Vensys in 2008. At present, Goldwind mainly produces 1.5MW and 2.5MW turbines. Last year, it supplied 40 2.5MW turbines to Longyuan Power for the Rudong inter-tidal wind farm and dominated turbine installations in China.

Designs for a 10MW direct-drive permanent magnet offshore model are also advancing well, Goldwind said. This project is part of the Chinese Ministry of Science and Technology high-tech programme. Prototypes are expected to be in trial operation by 2015.

Meanwhile, Sinovel is developing doubly-fed 10MW offshore turbines and Guodian United Power is applying superconducting technology to develop 10MW offshore turbines. But neither has disclosed a production timetable.

Shi Pengfei, vice president of the Chinese Wind Energy Association, estimates that China will make substantial progress in offshore wind power development in 2013, including turbine development and project construction. Offshore wind was recently added to a list of industrial sectors that deserve government support.

By the end of 2012, China had installed only 389.6MW offshore, less than one tenth of the 5GW target the country set for the end of 2015.

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