OPINION: Andrew Garrad, GL Garrad Hassan

When I started in the wind-energy business in 1979, a big turbine was 12 metres in diameter and generated 60kW. Today, there are commercial turbines ten times the diameter and a hundred times the power.

Many so-called pundits, myself included, made predictions about the maximum size of turbines that in retrospect were ridiculously conservative. We have now stopped making such predictions and are happy to be amazed by the engineering achievements of the present.

One useful “back of the envelope” limit is that a turbine blade longer than about 1km would probably buckle under its own weight, so there is still plenty of scope for growth!

Offshore, we are just starting something big. On land, turbine designs are constrained by having to be good neighbours to humans. There Log in to read complete article.

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