Technology group General Electric (GE) has announced that it will build a wind turbine with a capacity of 18 megawatts (MW). It will compete with other companies that have already announced similar plans.
The world is trying to gradually move away from polluting fossil fuels. An important part of the new energy mix is . Consequently, wind turbine manufacturers are competing to produce ever more powerful models.
In the news: Scott Strazik, CEO of GE Vernova, the energy arm of GE, dropped the news during a talk with investors on March 9.
- The company is said to be working on a model with a capacity between 17 and 18 MW. However, many details are not yet known about it. There is on GE's website about the model for now.
- GE's largest model currently being tested, the Haliade-X, has a capacity of up to 14.7 MW. The wind turbine is as tall as 260 meters. Each blade has a length of 107 meters.
- A Haliade-X can generate up to 74 gigawatt hours (GWh) per year of electricity, according to GE. This would save "up to 52,000 tons of CO2" per year. The company relies on "wind conditions at a typical German North Sea location."
Notable: To get an idea of how big GE's model could become, it's useful to look at figures from its competitors.
- In January, China's CSSC Haizhuang announced a wind turbine of similar capacity, . The model will be equipped with blades 128 meters long, which will spin at a diameter of 260 meters.
- The company claims the wind turbine will be able to provide electricity to 40,000 households a year.
- Meanwhile, some companies are looking to design even larger models. China's Mingyang Smart Energy wants to a wind turbine with . It should be able to supply "100,000 people" with electricity.
Worth noting: The race to build bigger and bigger wind turbines is happening for a good reason.
- Larger wind turbines can produce more energy in a smaller area. As a result, the price per unit of electricity produced should decrease.
- When the length of the blades doubles, a turbine can capture four times as much wind. This is because the area of the circle formed by the blades is the square of its length (multiplied by the constant pi).