Certification tests for the Haliade 150 ramping up

Thursday, 5 July, 2012 - 14:30

The Alstom offshore wind turbine at Le Carnet near Saint-Nazaire, Loire-Atlantique department (France) is generating its first kilowatt-hours of power. In preparation for certification, the Haliade 150 is being subjected to a range of onshore tests prior to the installation of a second turbine later this year in the North Sea off the coast of Belgium for further offshore testing. At 6 MW, and with a rotor diameter of 150 metres, the Haliade 150 is the largest offshore wind turbine on the planet.

The onshore tests are designed to validate numerous simulations (stress, temperature, service life, and others) which went into the design process of the Haliade 150. The onshore tests will last for 18 months. Over the course of the continuous pre-tests, the wind turbine will generate its initial kilowatt-hours of electricity at a low output level (0.5 MW, or 1/12 of its future capacity) in order to test the rotation system of the rotor blades and the transmission of the electricity the generator produces to the high-voltage grid via the electrical substation. The permanently excited generator is driven directly by the rotor. By doing away with the gearbox, Alstom aims to increase the technical availability of the turbine and reduce maintenance expenses, which can be particularly costly at sea.

 The offshore trials will test various parts of the maintenance regime and integration of the turbine into a transmission network under real-world conditions. Alstom, together with Belgian offshore power generation market leader Belwind NV, have signed an agreement for the installation of the Haliade 150 at Bligh Bank, 45 km off the Belgian coast (on the same latitude as the port of Ostend). Belwind will operate the wind turbine under license. In the first phase of the project, the Haliade 150 will be connected to the substation at the wind farm.

Alstom is building four plants in France to manufacture components for the construction and installation of offshore wind turbines. New facilities near the port of Saint-Nazaire (Loire-Atlantique department) will manufacture nacelles and generators, while those in Cherbourg (Manche department) will produce rotor blades (in cooperation with LM Wind Power) and towers. Furthermore, an engineering and R&D division employing 200 people and devoted solely to offshore wind will be built in the Pays de la Loire region.

These locations in France will be the first in the world established by Alstom which are dedicated exclusively to offshore wind power. They are expected to create 5,000 long-term jobs for qualified employees, among them 1,000 direct jobs. Initially, the facilities will manufacture the 240 wind turbines to be installed in French wind farms in the North Atlantic starting in 2016. Alstom is the exclusive supplier for the consortium led by EDF Energies Nouvelles, which successfully bid for three of the four projects auctioned in the French government’s call for tenders. Dong Energy, along with developers Nass & Wind and wpd Offshore are also members of the consortium.

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