Samsung 7MW rises in Scotland

Samsung Heavy Industries’ (SHI's) gigantic 7MW offshore wind turbine prototype is nearing completion in the shallow waters off Methil, northeast Scotland.

The jacket and tower for the S-7.0-171 are scheduled to be mated to the nacelle by Friday at Energy Park Fife (EPF) by contractor Graham Construction, with bolt-on of the blades to follow.

Fully assembled, the machine will be the world’s largest and most powerful installed turbine, with its blade-tips reaching 196 metres above sea level and a nacelle height of 110 metres.

“The weather is a critical factor for this complex installation operation and we are delighted to have had the right conditions to proceed with the tower installation,” says SHI deputy project director Youngjae Lee.

“There has been a great deal of activity on-site in preparation for this and it is has been good to see the structure really starting to take shape. 

“We are looking forward to continuing with this steady progress, completing the construction of the turbine and getting testing under way.”

Graham Construction project manager Johnny Kerr adds: “Despite challenging weather conditions, the works have gone to schedule with the jacket and transition piece having been successfully installed. The nacelle and blades are both on site awaiting erection."

The four-legged jacket was supplied by Scottish outfit Steel Engineering and the three 83.5-metre-long blades by Denmark’s SSP Technology.

A duplicate of the waiting nacelle, built around a drive-train from the UK’s DB Wind, is part-way through a programme of trials at the National Renewable Energy Centre (Narec) in northeast England, hooked-up on the facility's new 15MW test bench.

Commissioning of the turbine is slated to be finished “by the first half” of 2014, before the unit begins an extensive, multi-year testing programme.

The Korean company hopes to attract orders from UK Round 3 developers that would bankroll construction of a turbine manufacturing facility at EPF.

Maggie McGinlay, director of energy and clean technologies at business development body Scottish Enterprise said: “The development of the SHI turbine in Fife is testament to Scotland’s growing reputation as a global centre of expertise for the next generation of offshore wind energy technologies.

“This along with planned investment from other key players such as Areva and Gamesa is helping to create a potential manufacturing hub on the east coast, which would lead to significant opportunities for our supply chain companies.”

The Korean group plans to build an 84MW wind farm off the coast of Korea’s Jeju island using the new turbines. The project, to be installed by the end of 2014, will be one of South Korea’s first commercial offshore wind farms.