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World’s largest wind turbines that measure 856ft tall will be built near Martha’s Vineyard by 2023

The first large-scale offshore wind farm is coming to the US and it could be the most powerful in the world.

Vineyard Wind recently announced it will be placing more than 60 of General Electric’s 856-foot Haliade-X turbines some 15 miles off the coast of Martha’s Vineyard, a popular island destination in Massachusetts.

When activated in 2023, the towers will generate enough energy to power 400,000 houses in New England, the company said.

The 13 MW turbines are predicted to produce 312 MWh in a day, almost 10 percent more than the 262 MWh record held by a prototype wind farm in the Netherlands.

According to GE, each turbine will be capable of generating 9.5MW of power, with a single spin of its blade powering a home for two days.

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Vineyard Wind will place 62 General Electric Haliade-X wind turbines 15 miles off the coast of Martha’s Vineyard. With just a single spin, each 853-foot tower will generate enough energy to power a home for two days

‘This is a huge moment not only for the future of our project but also for the future of an industry that is poised for exponential growth in the coming decades,’ Vineyard Wind CEO Lars T. Pedersen said in a statement.

Each turbine will stand  more than 800 feet tall, almost twice the height of the London Eye, with the blades extending 350 feet long.

Vineyards Wind 1 will generate enough energy for a single home in just seven seconds, according to the site Interesting Engineering.

Overall, the wind farm will reduce carbon emissions by over 1.6 million tons per year.  

A map indicating where Vineyard Wind 1 will be located, some 15 miles off the southern coast of Martha's Vineyards in Cape Cod

A map indicating where Vineyard Wind 1 will be located, some 15 miles off the southern coast of Martha’s Vineyards in Cape Cod

The project ‘will make a significant contribution to the Commonwealth’s aim of reducing greenhouse gas emissions, while growing our economy and enhancing energy security and reliability,’ Vineyard Wind said. 

The company has leased a 160,000-acre area some 15 miles from the southern shore of Martha’s Vineyard.

The location was determined in collaboration with an intergovernmental task force, the company said, carefully considering scientific data and public input.

Vineyards Wind 1 will generate enough energy for a single home in just seven seconds, while still reducing carbon emissions by over 1.6 million tons per year

Vineyards Wind 1 will generate enough energy for a single home in just seven seconds, while still reducing carbon emissions by over 1.6 million tons per year

A comparison chart showing how GE's Haliade-X turbines stacks up to the Eiffel Tower, Big Ben and other landmarks

A comparison chart showing how GE’s Haliade-X turbines stacks up to the Eiffel Tower, Big Ben and other landmarks

The wind farm will use 62 General Electric Haliade-X towers, spaced at least eight-tenths of a mile apart.

The $3 billion project has faced numerous delays and regulatory obstacles, forcing Vineyard Wind to downgrade the number of turbines from 84.

But the company is optimistic about the project’s future, saying construction will start in the second half of 2021, with the wind farm expected to be operational by 2023.

‘The key piece of the puzzle, we have that in our hand,’ Pedersen told The Boston Globe. ‘We can start building the rest of the puzzle. We can show we’re confident that this is moving forward, and we can build a great project.’

Power will be collected by an offshore substation, with underwater cables buried six feet below the seafloor leading to an on-shore landing point and then out the regional electrical grid.

Only two small-scale offshore wind farms exist in the US—a five-turbine project off Rhode Island’s Block Island and two turbines near Virginia Beach.

The first offshore turbines were installed in 1991 in Denmark, which, last year, received 15 percent of its electricity from offshore wind.

GE claims the Haliade-X is the largest and most powerful turbine in the world. When activated in 2023, the 62 towers will generate enough energy to power 400,000 houses

GE claims the Haliade-X is the largest and most powerful turbine in the world. When activated in 2023, the 62 towers will generate enough energy to power 400,000 houses

The Burbo Bank Offshore Wind Farm in Liverpool, England

The Burbo Bank Offshore Wind Farm in Liverpool, England

The UK is still tops in the wind game, though, with some 8,600 onshore and 2,300 offshore turbines producing enough power 12 million homes for a full year.

According to an October 2019 study from the International Energy Agency, if put in optimal locations, offshore wind turbines could provide more than enough clean energy to meet global electricity demands while cutting 7.7 billion tons of carbon dioxide emissions.

Globally, wind turbines still account for less than one percent of electricity generation.

Experts say usage is expected to increase 15-fold over the next two decades, transforming it into a trillion-dollar industry.

Globally, wind turbines account for less than one percent of electricity generation but experts say usage will increase 15-fold over the next 20 years, transforming wind into a trillion-dollar industry

Globally, wind turbines account for less than one percent of electricity generation but experts say usage will increase 15-fold over the next 20 years, transforming wind into a trillion-dollar industry

In 2018, a one-gigawatt offshore wind project cost $1 billion but, according to the IEA, that price tag should drop over 40 percent in the next ten years.

But proponents caution that both political action and large infrastructure investments are needed to ensure wind’s future.

President Trump has repeatedly attacked wind turbines, making baseless claims the technology kills bald eagles.

‘You want to see a bird graveyard?’ he asked supporters at a rally in December 2019. ‘Go under a windmill someday. You’ll see more birds than you’ve ever seen ever in your life.’

Opponents of wind turbines claim they're responsible for everything from birth defects to cancer, and even premature death, though no reputable study has supported these claims.

Opponents of wind turbines claim they’re responsible for everything from birth defects to cancer, and even premature death, though no reputable study has supported these claims.

He also said manufacturing them created ‘tremendous fumes.’

‘Gases are spewing into the atmosphere,’ Trump said. ‘You talk about the carbon footprint — fumes are spewing into the air. Right? Spewing. Whether it’s in China, Germany, it’s going into the air. It’s our air, their air, everything – right?’

Opponents of wind turbines claim they’re responsible for everything from birth defects to cancer, and even premature death, though no reputable study has supported these claims.

At least one anti-turbine group, the Waubra Foundation, was found to be getting financial support from the Australian fossil fuel industry.

Trump has argued the government spent too much money propping up the wind-energy industry.

‘They need massive subsidies from the government in order to make it,’ the outgoing president said. ‘It’s really a terrible thing.’  

HOW DO WIND TURBINES WORK? 

Wind turbines harness the power of the wind to turn propeller-like blades around a rotor connected to a main shaft, which spins a generator to create electricity.  

It’s the opposite of a fan, which sucks up electricity to turn blades and create wind. 

Horizontal-axis turbines typically have three blades and pivot to face the wind

Horizontal-axis turbines typically have three blades and pivot to face the wind

Wind turbines can be installed on land or in lakes or oceans.

Larger and more powerful, offshore turbines are often clustered in large groups known as wind farms. 

There are two main kinds of wind turbines, according to the US Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy.

The more familiar horizontal-axis turbines usually have three blades and operate ‘upwind,’ with the turbine pivoting at the top so the blades can face the wind.

Vertical-axis wind turbines come in different varieties, including the eggbeater-style Darrieus model, and are omnidirectional—they don’t need to be adjusted to point into the wind.

 

 

 

 


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