Chinese wind group Ming Yang is in advanced discussions with Norwegian authorities to install a 6MW turbine demonstrator off the coast of the Scandinavian country “in the next year”, Recharge has learned.
The flagship machine, a two-bladed model from German designer aerodyn, would become only the second full-scale prototype installed off Norway, after Statoil’s 2.3MW Hywind floater in 2009.
Though aerodyn has an 8MW model on the drawing-board, the proposed project off Norway will use a 6MW, components for which have already been manufactured in China as part of Ming Yang’s planned two-turbine, shallow-water Rudong pilot, where installation of the delayed first unit is slated for this summer.
“From the Norwegian and Chinese sides there is an interest in this project [becoming a reality],” states Sönke Siegfriedsen, founder of aerodyn. “The Norwegians are seeing in the long-term cooperation potential for bringing down the cost of installation [of offshore turbines] in the North Sea.”
The aerodyn turbine, which has a propeller-like 140-metre-diameter rotor turning an in-house-designed super-compact drive transmission system with electrically excited synchronous generator, is a typhoon-class machine, making it well-equipped for the rigours of operation in the North Sea.
Discussions are ongoing as to whether a fixed or floating foundation – aerodyn has both a spar and “shallower-water” concept ready to go – will be used. The Norwegian pilot could be built out as an array, says Siegfriedsen, if the first turbine performs well in trials.
Aerodyn sees the demonstrator as a stepping stone to wider European offshore markets. “For the time being [the project is confined to Norway], but in the longer-term we are talking about projects in the waters of the North Sea as a whole.”
It is understood that the Norwegian demonstrator has been hampered by political fallout after the Norwegian government decided to snub the Dalai Lama, Tibet's spiritual leader in exile, when he arrived in Oslo last week to mark the 25th anniversary of his Nobel peace prize.