First Siemens 6MW offshore wind turbines installed by DONG Energy
Gunfleet Sands III wind farm to test new direct drive technology that will cut costs and reduce failure rates in future installations
Danish utility company, DONG Energy, has installed the first 6MW Siemens offshore wind turbines as part of a framework agreement to deliver 300 6MW turbines for exclusive use at DONG Energy's projects in the UK.
The turbines have been installed on the corner of the existing Gunfleet Sands 1 and 2 wind farms and will undergo tests over the next three years in order to understand how direct drive technology and installation methods can be used broader roll out of the 6MW turbine.
Development of larger turbines is viewed as paramount to industry efforts to reduce the cost of offshore wind energy to £100/MWh by 2020. DONG Energy has stated its goal to achieve the lower cost of €100/MWh, through employing larger turbines that can deliver higher yields.
Manufacturers including Gamesa, GE and Vestas are rolling out 6MW to 8MW machines and Siemens also hopes that the use of direct drive technology will cut costs by reducing the number of moving parts in the turbines, and thereby reduce failure rates and the need for maintenance.
The launch was also welcomed by Climate Change Minister Greg Barker, who stressed that offshore wind power will play an important role in the government's ambition to drive new investment in renewable energy.
According to the Department of Energy and Climate Change, the offshore wind industry now provides clean energy to 2.3 million homes each year in the UK.
DONG Energy's demonstration new technologies at an existing wind farm has been widely hailed by the sector as an innovative move that can dramatically reduce planning approval times and costs compared to seeking consent for a completely new area.