Offshore Wind Turbines in 2023: 16 MW Model Installed Offshore, 18 MW WTGs Selected for New Project, 22 MW Turbine Announced

The biggest wind turbines also make for some of the biggest news on In 2023, wind turbine OEMs continued making headlines with their models in development and on the path to commercialisation, and by announcing brand new wind turbine generators (WTGs) that further raise the bar in generation capacity and size. Here, we are bringing an overview of the biggest and most powerful wind turbines we reported about in 2023.

Some of the wind turbines from our lookback article from a year ago, which were announced or launched in 2022, have now advanced to being installed offshore and/or are already being selected for commercial offshore wind projects that are planned to be built in the not-so-distant future.

In 2023, the group of the world’s largest offshore wind turbine manufacturers made the front page with progress on 15+ MW models and we also got to see, same as in the year prior, another announcement of an upcoming WTG that breaks the current megawatt record.

As wind turbines keep growing, so do calls for standardisation in the offshore wind industry. While standardisation is sought for across a range of components and equipment, wind turbine sizes remain the focal point of talks about accelerating deployment, especially as specialised installation vessels are starting to run low while 2030 targets wait around the corner.

During Offshore Energy Exhibition & Conference 2022 (OEEC 2022), Adam Middleton, VP for Western Europe and Managing Director The Netherlands at Siemens Energy, emphasised the need for wind turbine standardisation to enable rapid deployment of offshore wind capacity.

This was again underlined at OEEC 2023 by Liz Burdock, CEO of the US industry organisation Oceantic Network (former Business Network for Offshore Wind).

Still, as we wait for the industry (and legislators) to potentially reach a consensus on wind turbine capacity and size(s), the middle ground of what capacity to standardise for keeps moving towards higher figures. With 15 MW turbines yet to be installed commercially, the market is already preparing for 20+ MW models after the latest news from China.

Offshore Wind Turbines in 2023

One of the biggest news last year was China Three Gorges (CTG) and Goldwind installing a 16 MW turbine offshore, at the second phase of CTG’s Zhangpu Liuao offshore wind farm.

Goldwind’s GWH252-16MW model has 123-metre-long blades and a rotor diameter of 252 metres that has a swept area of around 50,000 square metres.

Shortly after that, Mingyang Smart Energy reported that its MySE 16-260 offshore wind turbine was commissioned and was operating at full capacity in China, overtaking Goldwind in having the biggest wind turbine in the world installed to prove its mettle.

With a rotor diameter of 260 metres, MySE 16-260 has a swept area of 53,902 square metres.

Breaking news coming from Mingyang did not stop here last year. In October 2023, the company unveiled a new offshore wind turbine model with a rated capacity of 22 MW that is set for development between 2024 and 2025.

With a rotor diameter of 310+ metres, the MySE 22MW would be the most powerful wind turbine in the world. Equipped with carbon-fibre blades, the model would be tailored for high-wind regions with an average wind speed of 8.5 m/s – 10 m/s, and it would be typhoon-resistant, intelligent, and suitable for both fixed-bottom and floating applications, according to Mingyang Smart Energy.

In December, the Chinese manufacturer rolled out its MySE 18.X-20MW wind turbine at its Shanwei manufacturing base in China, effectively producing the world’s biggest and most powerful wind turbine (again).

The model features flexible power ratings ranging from 18.X to 20 MW, coupled with rotor diameters from 260-292 metres. The MySE 18.X-20MW is also equipped with active anti-typhoon technology, capable of withstanding Category 17 typhoons (56.1-61.2 m/s), the company said.

The new turbine capacities rolling out in China are being closely followed by Danish Vestas and the US OEM General Electric.

GE revealed the next-generation of its Haliade-X turbine in an investors’ call in March 2023, when Scott L. Strazik, CEO of GE Vernova, said the offshore wind market was receptive of its Haliade-X variant that has a capacity of between 17 MW and 18 MW. 

Last month, as Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry (METI) selected project developers in the country’s second round of offshore wind auctions, GE’s 18 MW Haliade-X emerged as a preferred wind turbine model for one of the proposed projects. A consortium comprising RWE, Mitsui & Co., and Osaka Gas secured a site off Murakami and Tainai in Niigata Prefecture, where they plan to build a 684 MW offshore wind farm that will comprise 38 of GE’s next-generation turbines.

There were two more sites the Japanese government awarded through the tender in December and the proposed projects at both are planned to use Vestas’s V236-15 MW model.

With a rotor diameter of 236 metres, the wind turbine has a swept area exceeding 43,000 square metres.

Vestas’s new wind turbine, which received type certification in December 2023, has already been chosen for several new offshore wind projects worldwide. The V236-15 MW will make its offshore debut at the Frederikshavn wind farm off Denmark.

In August 2023, Vestas’s V236-15 MW prototype in Denmark set a world record for the most power output by a single wind turbine in a 24-hour period, producing 363 megawatt-hours in that time span. The following month, Goldwind’s GWH252-16MW in China set a new record by producing 384.1 megawatt-hours in a 24-hour period. The record was previously held by Siemens Gamesa’s SG 14-222 DD prototype in Denmark which produced 359 megawatt-hours within a 24-hour time period back in October 2022.

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