Three manufacturers of new, larger offshore wind turbines are moving ahead with crucial certification tests of their designs. Alstom, Gamesa and Mitsubishi are all installing prototypes this year, with Alstom leading the pack.
All three companies are chasing market leader, Siemens, which successfully installed two of its new 6MW turbines last month.
Alstom is not far behind, with all remaining components of its 6MW Haliade prototype soon to arrive at the port of Ostend. The turbine will be installed this month at Belwind II. An onshore test is already underway in France, near Saint Nazaire.
Gamesa is due to install the first prototype of its G128-5.0MW design during the second quarter of the year at a quayside location on the Spanish island of Gran Canaria. Gamesa announced this week that it has secured design certification for the turbine from Det Norske Veritas.
The Spanish manufacturer says it will install "initial units" of the 5MW machine next year at an unnamed offshore "marine park".
Meanwhile, Mitsubishi reports it is on track to install a prototype of its 7MW Sea Angel turbine in June, onshore at the Scottish port of Hunterston. It is currently testing the drive train in Yokohama. Siemens will also conduct onshore testing at Hunterston.
Competition is increasingly fierce between offshore turbine manufacturers, as they race to prove the reliability of their designs to offshore wind developers. Several developers active in the UK Round 3 programme are thought to be close to making turbine purchase decisions.