Towering up to 150m above sea level, this is the scale of the turbines that could be built in Hull. Siemens’ six-megawatt turbines this week became the first of their size in the world to be tested offshore.
Installed at Dong Energy’s demonstration site at Gunfleet Sands, off the coast of Essex – about 7km from Clacton on sea – they are the largest and most powerful turbines in operation offshore anywhere across the globe.
Benj Sykes, manager for Dong Energy UK Wind Power division, said: “This demonstration project marks an important milestone for Dong Energy in the UK.
“We are the market leader for a reason – we are using the latest technology to push the boundaries of the industry forward and we continue to remain committed to playing a central role in ensuring the offshore wind industry in this country achieves its full potential.”
It is more than two years since Siemens signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) detailing plans to build a turbine factory on Hull’s Alexandra Dock.
The document, signed in January 2011, outlined how the factory would, if built, assemble the energy giant’s 6 megawatt wind turbines.
As well as being bigger than any of their predecessors, the turbines will also be the first to employ direct drive technology.
In July last year, Dong Energy signed a framework agreement with Siemens to deliver 300 six-megawatt turbines for exclusive use at Dong Energy’s projects in the UK.
The first will be Westermost Rough, a “round two” wind farm, which will feature 35 huge turbines.
Located 8km off the coast of Hull, it will generate enough electricity to supply 200,000 homes and will be the first wind farm in the world to use Siemens six-megawatt turbines on a commercial scale.
Turbines will then be shipped out to the Hornsea zone, in which Dong has a 33 per cent stake.
In July last year, Siemens confirmed to the Mail it would look to build a “portion” of its next generation turbines at the proposed new factory the Green Port Hull development on the dock.
Speaking yesterday, a Siemens’ spokeswoman said assembly of the next generation turbines was detailed in the MOU, adding: “Siemens is continuing to progress its plans for Green Port Hull and its discussions with Government, customers and ABP.”
Mark O’Reilly, director at Team Humber Marine Alliance (THMA), said he was confident the region would soon hear positive news about Green Port Hull, as well as the Able UK development on the South Bank.
He said: “We visited the Siemens factory at Brande this week and saw where these six-megawatt turbines had been built.
“The size of the factory and industry there is huge, however it is inland so not ideal when you consider hundreds of turbines will need constructing and then transporting to wind farms in the North Sea.
“That is why I’m optimistic Hull will be shipping about 100 of these turbines out every week, as originally planned.”
‘A very important project’
Henrik Stiesdal, chief technology officer from Siemens Wind Power, said: “Gunfleet Sands 3 is a very important project for us to bring the six-megawatt direct drive turbine out to the offshore environment.
“The two prototypes have been pre-tested here under hardest conditions and we have made tremendous progress with the experiences gained by that. Now we will test the turbines under long-term conditions of normal energy production.”
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