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Technology trends

Larger diameters

Figure 3.19 shows trends by year of the typical largest turbine sizes targeted for mainstream commercial production.  There were megawatt turbines in the 1980s but almost all were research prototypes.  An exception was the Howden 55 m 1 MW design (erected at Richborough in the UK), a production prototype, which was not replicated due to Howden withdrawing from the wind business in 1988.  Although there is much more active consideration of larger designs than indicated in Figure 3.19, there has been a definite pause in the appearance of any larger turbines since 2004.  

Figure 3.19 Turbine diameter growth with time, source Garrad Hassan

Figure 3.19 Turbine diameter growth with time, source Garrad Hassan

Figure 3.20 Enercon E126, source Enercon

Figure 3.20 Enercon E126, source Enercon

The world’s largest wind turbine is currently the Enercon E-126 (Figure 3.20) installed in Emden, Germany, in February 2008.  The E-126 is a development from the E-112, which had been up-rated to 6 MW.  The new E126 has a rating of 6 MW and may be up-rated to 7 MW.  The Enercon E 126 extends the design of the E 112 and, although this design represents an increase in rated power of the world’s largest wind turbines, the physical size of the rotor is similar to the REpower5 MW design.  Thus, there has been no significant increase in rotor size since 2004.

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