With rotors a massive 236 metres in diameter, the world’s biggest wind turbines could be generating power off Norfolk from 2024, if Vattenfall gets the nod in the UK’s government’s upcoming Fourth Allocation Round.

Megastructure builders Siemens Gamesa announced today a deal with the Swedish developers. It is likely to see 240 of the leviathans providing generation from two farms totalling 3.6GW, and in seas starting 47km off East Anglia’s coast.

After modifications, an unmatched output of 15MW is expected from each SG 14-236 machine, a 30% step up over the manufacturer’s most powerful existing alternative.

Under today’s preferred supplier agreement,  the giant structures are planned to populate the Norfolk Boreas and Norfolk Vanguard parks.  Siemens Gamesa’s patented RecyclableBlades, currently being trialled off Germany’s coast, will come as options.

With a swept disc covering 43,500 square metres, a prototype SG 14-222 DD machine has already been installed at Denmark’s National Test Center in Østerild. Final commissioning is expected before the end of 2021.

Siemens Gamesa claims leadership in world offshore wind. In the UK it employs 2,100 staff directly, including 500 dedicated to servicing around 1,800 turbines installed in UK waters.

The firm’s factory in Hull is Britain’s largest for UK offshore wind. The German-Spanish company recently announced an £186 million expansion, double the factory’s floorspace, and adding about 200 jobs to the 1,000 already on site.

“Vattenfall’s Norfolk projects will form one of the largest offshore wind zones in the world when completed, generating enough electricity to power the equivalent of 4 million homes”, said Catrin Jung, Vattenfall’s head of offshore businesses.

“We’re very pleased to be able to announce Siemens Gamesa as the nominated preferred supplier.”

Marc Becker, CEO of Siemens Gamesa’s equivalent unit, said “Developing an even larger rotor for our flagship offshore wind turbine is an example of how we are always seeking to innovate and improve. We can increase blade length and incorporate the solution on our existing design.

“We are committed to leading the offshore revolution, adding value to our customer’s projects and unlocking the potential of wind power.”

If successfully commissioned, Siemens Gamesa’s epic structure will be taller than the world’s highest turbine so far.

General Electric’s Cherbourg-built Haliade-X has a rotor diameter of 220 metres and stands 260 meters tall. A single exemplar rated at 13MW was installed in Rotterdam in October 2019. Subject to trials, 190 Haliade-Xs are to be installed in SSE Renewables’ and Equinor’s Dogger Bank project, with a total generating capacity of 4.8GW.

Vestas also has a 236 metre, 15 MW project, with first installations due next year.


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