GE Renewable Energy’s Haliade-X prototype, at 12MW the biggest wind turbine ever built, generated first power, the OEM reports, moving the giant machine into the testing phase at its site in the Dutch Port of Rotterdam.

Production of the first kWh from the prototype, which is on track for crucial ‘type certification’ to anoint it market-ready next year, was called a “critical achievement” for the technology and its project team by GE’s offshore wind CEO John Lavelle.

“This [milestone] brings to fruition our vision and all the hard work put in place,” he said. “Innovation is part of GE’s DNA, and having successfully powered the world’s first 12MW wind turbine, this illustrates it perfectly.

“There are more than 500 GE women and men behind this great success, who have been working for a year and a half to make this possible.”

The Haliade-X, the launch of which in March 2018 was reported exclusively in Recharge, is engineered to generate up to 67GWh of gross annual energy production, enough to supply power to over 16,000 European households and save up to 42,000 metric tonnes of CO2.

The turbine, which flies an LM Wind Power-designed 220-metre-diameter rotor powering a direct-drive transmission with permanent-magnet generator, is the largest offshore machine ever built, outreaching the 10MW models of OEMs MHI Vestas and Siemens Gamesa, though bother rivals have larger-nameplate designs in development.

The Rotterdam unit’s performance will be quality-checked against a second 12MW nacelle that is being life-cycle tested at the Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult in the UK, where one of the 107-metre-long blade is already being trialled.

A second blade has arrived Massachusetts Clean Energy Centre in Boston , which recently r eceived funding from the US Department of Energy to extend its test rig for trials of the technology.

GE is racing to get the Haliade-X into serial manufacture, with orders for the Equinor-SEE 3.6GW Dogger Bank mega-project off the UK and Orsted’s Skipjack and Ocean Wind developments in the US in line for first deliveries between 2022-2025 from the OEM’s Saint-Nazaire and Cherbourg factories in France.