A colossal 18 MW wind turbine is about to debut in China

A Chinese manufacturer is on the brink of launching what will become the largest offshore wind turbine when it’s complete.

18 MW wind turbine

GE Renewable Energy announced in December that its Haliade-X, the first wind turbine capable of more than 12 megawatts (MW), received a full type certificate for operations up to 14.7 MW from DNV, the world’s largest independent certification body. That officially made it the world’s most powerful wind turbine – but the Haliade-X won’t get to wear that crown for long.

That’s because industrial manufacturer CSSC Haizhuang, a subsidiary of China State Shipbuilding Corporation, one of China’s top 10 defense groups, has unveiled the rotor hub and nacelle for a monstrous 18 megawatt (MW) offshore wind turbine prototype.

Image: YouTube still

The H260-18MW will have a rotor diameter of 853 feet (260 meters). To put that in perspective, that rotor diameter is as long as the height of the Haliade-X, which has a rotor diameter of 722 feet (220 meters). The 18 MW turbine will have 420-feet-long (128-meter-long) blades with a sweep area of 570,487 square feet (53,000 square meters). The blades will have independent pitch control, a well-known method of reducing blade loads.

CSSC says 80% of the turbine’s components are being made in-house to cut down on supply chain issues.

According to the Chongqing-based company, the H260-18MW will be able to generate 44.8 kilowatt-hours of electricity per revolution at full power. A single wind turbine will be able to produce more than 74 million kilowatt-hours of clean energy per year – the equivalent of the annual electricity consumption of 40,000 households.

CSSC’s 18 MW turbine is going to bump MingYang‘s and Goldwind/China Three Gorges Corporation’s 16 MW turbines out of their anticipated top spots. The latter’s nacelle debuted in November.

Western manufacturers GE, Siemens Gamesa, and Vestas are all currently developing 15MW turbines.

Electrek’s Take

I stopped and pondered why I get such a charge out of (no pun intended) the announcements of ever-larger wind turbines being built. Is it just childish excitement over superlatives, like when we’d pore over the Guinness Book of World Records as kids? Maybe a tiny bit. Plus, innovation is exciting.

But mostly, it’s the sheer amount of clean energy these titans can produce. “The equivalent of the annual electricity consumption of 40,000 households” – that brings hope. And in the race to keep global warming to 1.5° C, we can use every clean kilowatt-hour of energy – and all the hope – we can get.

Photo: CSSC Haizhuang


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Avatar for Michelle Lewis Michelle Lewis

Michelle Lewis is a writer and editor on Electrek and an editor on DroneDJ, 9to5Mac, and 9to5Google. She lives in White River Junction, Vermont. She has previously worked for Fast Company, the Guardian, News Deeply, Time, and others. Message Michelle on Twitter or at michelle@9to5mac.com. Check out her personal blog.