DONG Energy has inaugurated its Gunfleet Sands III demonstration project, comprising the world's first Siemens 6 MW wind turbines to be deployed offshore.
Located next to the existing 172 MW Gunfleet Sands wind farm off the coast of Clacton-on-Sea in Essex, U.K., the two new Siemens turbines will undergo a series of tests over the next three years. DONG Energy says it will examine how the new direct-drive technology and installation methods used at this project could affect the wider rollout of the 6 MW machine at its future projects.
Henrik Stiesdal, chief technology officer of Siemens Wind Power, says the demonstration project marks a major milestone.
"Gunfleet Sands III is a very important project for us to bring the 6 MW direct-drive turbine out to the offshore environment," comments Stiesdal. "The two prototypes have been pre-tested here under hardest conditions, and we have made tremendous progress with the experiences gained by that. Now we will test the turbines under long-term conditions of normal energy production. We appreciate DONG Energy very much for the gainful collaboration."
The 6 MW turbine type has been tested onshore at centers in Denmark. DONG Energy announced in July 2012 that it had signed a framework agreement with Siemens to deliver 300 6-MW turbines for exclusive use at DONG's projects in the U.K. The company also signed an agreement with Siemens for up to 154 6-MW turbines at its German Gode Wind projects from 2015.