The latest and largest of Denmark’s wind turbine test facilities will begin operating this autumn. Siemens commenced installation of its 6MW direct drive offshore machine this week, at the Østerild test site. It has a record-breaking 154m rotor.
Other turbine manufacturers thought to be interested in testing their machines there are Vestas and Envision, Windpower Offshore understands. Some are keen to secure more than one test plot.
Announced in early 2011, Østerild will comprise seven grid-connected plots. They will be suitable for the largest turbines currently under development.
Managed by the 150-strong wind energy department at Danish Technical University (DTU), the Østerild site confirms Denmark’s leading position in providing turbine testing facilities. The DTU's test sites are part of the country’s strategy of becoming a global leader in wind energy research and development.
In contrast, the UK does not yet have any operational sites for testing offshore turbines. However, Narec’s blade and nacelle test facility, in north east England, is making progress. In addition, two Siemens 6MW 120m rotor turbines are to be installed at Dong Energy's Gunfleet Sands 3 test site.
In Scotland, there are efforts to develop both offshore plots – in Aberdeen Bay and at the Beatrice site – and one or more onshore sites.
Siemens must make swift progress in finalising the 6MW machines, given its recent order from Dong. The Danish energy company wants 300 units for deployment in UK waters between 2014 and 2017.