20 MW Wind Turbines are on the Horizon

Giant wind turbines, with rotor having a 200 meter diameter and a capacity of 20 MW will be put into service by 2020. In 2020 wind turbines will reach a capacity of 20 MW. This is the conclusion of a feasibility study conducted within Europe’s Upwind project .

This increased capacity could offer important opportunities for the expansion of wind energy in Europe, especially through the construction of offshore parks, thus making it possible to achieve the goal of obtaining 26% to 34% of Europe’s electricity demand from wind by 2030.

However, significant technological advances will have to be made, and the design will have to change: "Making a 20 MW wind turbine is not just upscaling today’s 5 MW machines. Nevertheless, we have already identified the necessary innovations in terms of design, materials and way the turbine is operator", said Jos Beurskens of the Energy Research Centre Netherlands, who led the project.

For example, the blades will have a 200 meter diameter, compared with the 120 meters of current 5 MW turbines, though they will be lighter and more flexible. Moreover, they will have to be equipped with sensors that will indicate in real time how they must be oriented to best exploit the wind and can also check their tension.

Moreover, economic issues must be overcome, as regards the of research and development funding.: "This knowledge will never become reality if the EU does not make a clear commitment to research," warns Christian Kjaer, CEO of the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA).