Norway plans the world's most powerful wind turbine

Photo obtained from StatoilHydro shows a floating full-scale offshore wind turbine
This undated handout photo obtained in 2009 from StatoilHydro shows the world's first floating full-scale offshore wind turbine in the North Sea off the coast of Norway. Norway plans to build the world's most powerful wind turbine, hoping the new technology will increase the profitability of costly offshore wind farms, partners behind the project said Friday.

Norway plans to build the world's most powerful wind turbine, hoping the new technology will increase the profitability of costly offshore wind farms, partners behind the project said Friday.

With a rotor diametre of 145 metres (475 feet), the 10-megawatt protype will be roughly three times more powerful than ordinary currently in place, Enova, a public agency owned by Norway's petroleum and oil industry ministry, said.

The world's largest wind turbine, 162.5 metres (533 feet) tall, will be built by Norwegian company Sway with the objective of developing a technology that will result in higher for offshore .

It will first be tested on land in Oeygarden, southwestern , for two years.

The gain in power over current turbines will be obtained partly by reducing the weight and the number of moving parts in the turbine.

According to the NTB news agency, the prototype will cost 400 million kroner to build and could supply power to 2,000 homes.

"We are aiming to install it in 2011," Enova's head of new technology Kjell Olav Skoelsvik told AFP.

Enova pledged 137 million Norwegian kroner (17 million euros, 23 million dollars) to build the prototype.

"It is milestone in the efforts to develop the future's wind power," Norway's energy minister Terje Riis-Johansen said in a statement.

Environmental groups have been highly critical of Norway's government for not having invested enough in wind power.

The Scandinavian country is one of the world's top oil and gas producers but obtains most of its own energy through .

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World's first floating wind turbine opens in Norway

(c) 2010 AFP

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Feb 12, 2010
a rotor with a span of 1/7th of a kilometer.

Now if we can just cover the earth's surface with these, our energy problems should disappear...

Feb 12, 2010
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Feb 12, 2010
So only 37,000 dollars per house.
These windmills better last at least 50 years, or they will never be paid for.

Feb 12, 2010
One would think that increasing the height of the rotor would be more cost-effective than increasing the size of the rotor, since wind speed goes up by about 1mph for every 10 yards or so of elevation.

So for example, if they doubled the height, but left the rotor the same size, then you would expect about another 14-16 mph wind speed, thus giving significantly better energy...probably double or triple on average, in fact, since the bottom half of the rotor's swing is currently barely above ground/sea level with the model seen in that picture...if you doubled the height, the bottom would experience average wind speeds equal or greater than what the top currently experiences...since momentum of wind goes up quadratically with speed, this means that doubling the average wind speed hitting the rotor represents a ~4 fold increase in energy potential...

Feb 12, 2010
But in order to get a 4-fold increase in energy from a change in rotor design, you would need to have double the radius/diameter of the rotor, which represents a significant increase in mass of the rotor and therefore increase in wear and tear on the generator.

On the other hand, doubling the height is relatively "low tech" compared to building a bigger rotor or bigger generator which can work while carrying the extra weight.

So again, to me, after a certain limit, it makes more sense to invest more in a much taller POLE than to invest in a bigger rotor...

Feb 12, 2010
tpb, I had the same calculation. Assume then that at about $35,000 per house, and a $200/mo electric bill, it would take 13+ years to pay it off. That's not including maintenance on the rotor or the infrastructure that would take to access it in the open ocean, and supporting the power lines that would have to be draped on the seafloor to land....this is all still a very expensive proposition.

Feb 12, 2010
So it comes out to about $2 per watt, when the wind is blowing strong enough, but not too strong. Maybe "production" will cut that cost figure in half. It doesn't say if that is the installed cost, or just the cost to make one. Interesting intro line, they "hope it will increase profitability". I take that to mean they are not today, even with Norway's electric rates.
One of the big issues with these is reliability, the bill for a service call can buy a few of those houses.
Like I tell all the unquestioning followers of the "alternative energy panacea", if it were that easy and made that much sense, we'd be doing it already. Still I hope that progress is made.

Feb 12, 2010
Well, as far as "alternative energy" goes, we KNOW that geothermal is doable and makes sense given recent published articles even on this very site, the only reason they won't do it is because then they woudln't be able to charge as much for power.

We also have Methan Hydrate. According to a program I saw on discovery yesterday, Methane Hydrate is estimated to represent as much as ten times as much energy as all other fossil fuels in earth's history combined...

Sadly, I think the AGW con-game has served only to hinder the development of new energy supplies, rather than encouraging or enhancing those developments.

Feb 12, 2010
The problem with these huge wind turbines is the extremity of the rotor quickly reaches the speed of sound which creates vibrations that lead to catastrophes, I wonder what they did to fix that

Feb 12, 2010

I never thought of the speed of the rotor, it turns out that one 475 feet, almost 150 meters in diameter means the tips would be supersonic even at 50 RPM so you have to go 40 RPM or under unless you can eliminate the extra drag associated with supersonic turbulence. So if the generator had to be going 4000 RPM to be efficient you will end up with a 1 to 100 ratio gearbox, that would represent a lot of wear right there.

In other words, half the rotor diameter at double the height would definitely be cheaper to make, longer lasting, and more efficient with higher max energy potential...


Feb 12, 2010
So only 37,000 dollars per house.
These windmills better last at least 50 years, or they will never be paid for.

Calculating the payback time based on the cost of the prototype is ridiculous. Generally speaking, the costs decline rather sharply when any device is manufactured in any sort of quantity.

Or did you think this was about building only one turbine and powering 2000 homes?

Feb 13, 2010
Wind turbines are designed to spin at 16 rpms max for the most part and the generators ay 1800.

Feb 13, 2010
There are not only turbines with the horizontal axis:

Put small, in the mall bought turbines, on the city rooftops, that's high and windy, or between buildings, or using up-drafts ..

Feb 14, 2010
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Feb 15, 2010
One windturbine with 10-megawatt supply power to 2,000 homes.

What if you build 1000 of this windturbines?! Lets say that we count 50% of losses during transportation and lower winds and so on...

Then you even have 5000 Mw of power! And power for 1 000 000 homes. Even the costs of each turbine will drop in the coming years.

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