Vestas Unveils New 7MW Offshore Wind Tubine

Vestas Wind Systems (VWS.CO) on Thursday unveiled a 7 megawatt (MW) offshore wind turbine that is expected to enter production in early 2015.

Interestingly, the company chose to stay with a geared design, rather than the direct drive technology being developed for offshore wind by companies like Siemens (NYSE: SI) and GE (NYSE: GE).

"We actually kept all options open from the start, running two separate parallel R&D development tracks; One focusing on direct drive and one on a geared solution. It soon became clear that if we wanted to meet the customers’ expectations about lowest possible cost of energy and high business case certainty we needed a perfect combination of innovation and proven technology and so the choice could only be to go for a medium-speed drive-train solution," says Finn Strøm Madsen, President of Vestas Technology R&D. "Offshore wind customers do not want new and untested solutions. They want reliability and business case certainty–and that is what the V164-7.0 MW gives them."

The enormous turbine, which will feature a blade length of 80 meters, is being developed for the offshore wind market in Europe, thought the company says it will take the design to other parts of the world as market demand increases.

Vestas said the size of the turbine maximizes the cost efficiency of offshore wind power, and that it is designed to function in the roughest conditions of the North Sea.

According to Anders Søe-Jensen, President of Vestas Offshore, the offshore wind market is set to really take off over the coming years, but more so in some parts of the world than in others: "We expect the major part of offshore wind development to happen in the Northern part of Europe, where the conditions at sea are particularly rough. Based on our broad true offshore experience and our many years as pioneers within the offshore wind industry, we have specifically designed the V164-7.0 MW to provide the highest energy capture and the highest reliability in this rough and challenging environment."

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