It’s been another busy day so far here at OFFSHORE 2011 in Amsterdam, and today the focus is on audience participation. First up were five of offshore wind energy’s leading manufacturers – Alstom, Nordex, Gamesa, Siemens and Vestas – in the battle of the big turbines.
Each manufacturer outlined the benefits of their future turbines, with the main differences lying in the generators (direct drive, hybird or gear) and in blade length. It was clear that the industry’s leading players are aiming high – at 7 MW machines with rotor diameters of up to 154 meters.
‘Today’s contest proves that the technology is there and ready,’ Athanasia Arapogiani co-chair of the session said. ‘These new turbines have a bigger energy yield, they are better suited to the sea environment and they are more cost efficient [than today's models]‘, Arapogiani said. Manufacturers said that prototypes of these new big machines will be ready over the next one to two years, and on the market shortly after that.
During audience questions, one interesting theme emerged – floating turbines. The majority of the manufacturers said their big turbines could be converted to fit floating structures for use in deeper water – watch this space!
Another lively ‘quick fire’ session saw a high-level of audience participation through SMS voting. Speakers were allowed just one minute to present a key finding linked to offshore wind energy and the audience then had to vote for which speakers sparked their interest the most. The winners were: A new study on limiting potential harm to marine life through the noise created through offshore wind farm construction; a new fixed turbine and foundation concept known as the ‘self installing turbine'; a study on the most popular foundation designed currently used in offshore wind and a design of a dot generator station.
OFFSHORE 2011 continues this afternoon with sessions on public acceptance, and a deeper delve into EWEA’s new offshore wind energy report.