World’s Largest 16 MW Offshore Wind Turbine Connected to Grid in China

Highlights :

  • The 16 MW wind turbine can generate 34.2 kWh per revolution and over 66 million kWh of clean electricity per year
World’s Largest 16 MW Offshore Wind Turbine Connected to Grid in China

The world’s largest 16 megawatts (MW) offshore wind turbine off the coast of east China’s Fujian Province has been successfully connected to the power grid and began generating electricity on July 19, 2023. The wind turbine at the Fujian offshore wind farm is operated by the China Three Gorges Corporation (CTG).

The wind turbine boasts the largest single-unit generating capacity of all turbines in operation worldwide. It has a rotor diameter of 252 meters (827 feet), with a hub centre height of 152 meters. The combined weight of the engine room and generator is gargantuan 385 tons. Each of the three turbine blades is 123 meters long, weighs 54 tons, and can sweep an area of approximately 50,000 square meters – the size of approximately seven standard soccer fields – on complete revolution.

This demonstration unit is located in the Fujian offshore wind farm, which is affected by the “narrow tube effect” of the Taiwan Strait. Reportedly, there are over 300 days of strong winds above level 6 and more than 200 days of strong winds above level 7, near gale conditions with winds exceeding 32 mph (51 km/h), throughout the year. The annual average wind speed exceeds 9 meters per second.

Based on historical wind measurement data in this sea area, a single 16 MW wind turbine can generate 34.2 kWh per revolution. Thus, the turbine can generate over 66 million kWh of clean electricity per year, equivalent to meeting the annual electricity consumption needs of 36,000 three-member households. This is equivalent to saving about 22,000 tonnes of standard coal and reducing carbon dioxide emissions by about 54,000 tonnes.

The region is prone to typhoons, so the turbine is designed to withstand winds up to 179 mph (287 km/h) – showing resilience to winds more powerful than the most violent conditions ever measured in the Western North Pacific, Typhoon Tip, which featured sustained winds of 160 mph (260 km/h) in 1979.

What Lies Ahead

In the next step, the 16 MW unit will be applied in batches in the second phase of the Zhangpu Liuao Offshore Wind Farm Project constructed by CTG Corporation. The Zhangpu Liuao Phase 2 offshore wind farm will be able to produce about 1.6 TWh of electricity per year. This can save about 500,000 tons of standard coal and reduce emissions by about 1.36 million tons annually, according to the company.

Looking at the advancements the offshore wind is making in size and durability, this turbine may not remain the largest wind turbine for too long. Offshore wind turbines continue to grow in size. The China State Shipbuilding Corporation (CSSC) was already building an 18 megawatt turbine back in January and it seems reasonable to expect a 20 MW announcement any day now.

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