Areva turbines in at North Sea plants

Installation of the initial Areva M5000 turbines is underway at the Global Tech I and Trianel Borkum wind farms in the German North Sea.

The two developments, being built in some 40 metres of water, will together be made up of 120 of the 5MW turbines – 40 at Trianel Borkum, 80 at Global Tech I – with a combined capacity of 600MW.

With start-up of the two wind farms, Areva’s turbines will make up 33% of the 1.8GW turning offshore in Germany.

The M5000 is Areva's flagship offshore wind turbine. First erected at Germany's Alpha Ventus wind laboratory in 2009, the machine has a 116-metre-diameter rotor turning a one-stage planetary helical gearbox-driven drive-train with synchronous permanent-magnet generator. 

The turbine is designed to be lightweight, with top-head weight of 345 tonnes, meaning nacelle and rotor can be hoisted into position in a single lift by a crane, while opening up the option of slimmer, more cost-effective foundation structures.

Areva is currently fine-tuning a longer-bladed variant, the M5000-135, which will have a rotor diameter 19 metres wider than the current production model, with a swept area of 14,326 square metres.

Louis-Francois Durret, senior executive vice-president of Areva’s Renewable Energies business unit, claimed the vote of confidence from Trianel and Global Tech I "positions us favourably to win future contracts in France and the UK".

The 200MW Trianel Windpark Borkum is located 45km off the island of Borkum, near Alpha Ventus. Global Tech 1, with a 400MW capacity, is built 110km out to sea, putting it in line to be the world's furthest-offshore wind farm.

Hochtief's Thor jack-up vessel is installing the M5000 towers and nacelles at Global Tech 1.

Trianel Windpark Borkum installation being handled by MPI Adventure, with 12 turbines installed out of 40.

The two developments are calculated as capable of providing electricity to around 600,000 households once online.

Note: Amends details of vessels used at projects