Sun.
Jul 25
2021
turbine offshore

Vestas will roll out the world’s biggest wind turbines to supply Germany’s first non-subsidy offshore wind project.

Vestas’ new V236 15-MW offshore wind turbine will gain its first commercial deployment with installation in 2025 for EnBW’s 900-megawatt He Dreiht project in the German North Sea. A firm unconditional order remains to be signed, according to a release from the company.

The 115.5 meter blades deliver the industry’s largest swept area and are able to capture stronger and steadier winds found off the coast and in maritime areas.

Measures to reduce pollution, cut carbon emissions and fight global warming have spurred governments to provide subsidy support to the development of renewable energies. Governments have also pushed renewables to create domestic jobs and ease dependence on foreign powers.

“Germany’s offshore wind ambitions for 20 GW by 2030 will require ground-breaking projects and technology, such as the V236-15.0 MW turbine, to be achieved,” Nils de Baar, President of Vestas Northern & Central Europe. The EnBW project is expected for full commissioning in the fourth quarter of 2025.

Companies that purchase equipment from Vestas and other manufacturers have used technology to jump ahead and grab greater profits from subsidy revenue levels for electricity generation. And now, in many places, these subsidies are no longer necessary as advances in technology and scale are delivering profits by themselves.

The Danish wind turbine manufacturer is in a see-saw technological race with Siemens-Gamesa and GE to create and supply the larger and more efficient wind turbines turbines, driving down costs and gaining clients and orders by enabling wind generation to compete with market prices.

The turbine will allow Vestas to catch up with and edge GE’s 14-MW Haliade-X offshore wind turbine unveiled in 2018, and Siemens Gamesa’s SG 14-222 DD offshore turbine. GE already has a Haliade-X turbine prototype installed and generating power in Holland.

Vestas increased focus on the highly competitive sector last year when it bought full ownership of its venture with Mitsubishi Heavy Industries which dealt with offshore wind. Vestas issued shares in itself to Mitsubishi Heavy Industries to pay for the venture, meaning Mitsubishi remains involved.

The market to supply for offshore wind generation is expanding as the United States starts to roll out auctions in the Atlantic Ocean. European Union and U.K. also increasingly continue to develop offshore areas with ambitious plans to go net zero by 2050.

All of which spurred a boom renewables stocks through the end of last year, which has since fallen off and stabilized as investors await developments.

The market specifically for offshore wind may additionally have an “x” factor in green hydrogen, a clean burning fuel, which has gained attention of politicians and corporates in carbon reduction plans. Hydrogen, produced with electricity, is essentially a way to store and carry the variable electricity produced by wind.

Hydrogen development could produce additional demand for turbines as part of an envisioned green cycle. The development of hydrogen as a commodity on its own could also unbind wind arrays from being necessarily located somewhat near the cities and regions they supply. That could mean more projects.

In any case, the latest step ahead into bigger turbines and the overall reduction of subsidy from generation is certainly not the last. Expect stiff competition from turbine makers to deliver better and better options, as their survival depends on it.

By Stephen Bierman

Stephen Bierman is an energy markets journalist and the editor of New Economy Observer.

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