There are two major efforts to push conventional horizontal wind turbine technology to its limits.
The Norwegian company Sway will build a 10 Megawatt wind turbine (533-feet tall) capable of powering 2,000 homes all by itself by 2011 and then test it for two years before building more. Enova, a public agency owned by Norway’s petroleum and oil industry ministry, is helping fund the project, which is expected to cost $67.5 million to build.
A 15 MWe relatively conventional horizontal wind turbine would then be expected to be about 688 feet tall.
The project will involve a total investment of 25 million euros over the next four years and will be co-financed by the participating companies.
The initiative, scheduled to finalise in 2013, is designed to establish the technological groundwork for the subsequent development, in around 2020, of a large-scale offshore wind turbine. The programme’s initial objectives call for developing a turbine with unit capacity of 15 MW that is capable of overcoming the technical and financial hurdles currently limiting the rollout of offshore wind energy. The most pressing of these obstacles are availability, turbine foundations and energy delivery to land, and the challenge consists in narrowing the gap between offshore energy’s cost and required investment and those of onshore wind energy sites.
China now leads the world in the renewable energy sector, according to a report by Ernst & Young, overtaking the US, which topped the indices up to May 2010.