Danish developer Orsted has named Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy (SGRE) to deliver over 1GW’s worth of its top-of-the-line SG11.0-200DD offshore wind turbines for two projects in the German North Sea.

The preferred supplier deal covers the 900MW Borkum Riffgrund 3 development – Germany’s largest offshore wind project to-date – and the 242MW Gode Wind 3, and includes a five-year service and maintenance agreement.

The award hinges on Orsted taking a final investment decision on the developments, which itself is subject to the projects receiving final grid dates and consents from German authorities.

“In this new decade, we need to translate social and political ambition into tangible action and change. We are committed to helping move Germany towards a competitive decarbonisation thanks to the implementation of our most advanced technologies,” stated Andreas Nauen, CEO of SGRE’s offshore business.

“We are glad to do so together with global market leader Orsted, and to deploy our new direct drive offshore turbine with a 200-meter rotor at the same time.”

The turbines – the final number of which “remains to be determined” – are slated for installation on Gode Wind 3 in early 2023 and on Borkum Riffgrund 3 in 2024, with commissioning on the two projects to being completed in 2024 and 2025, respectively

Martin Neubert, CEO of Orsted Offshore, stated: "Driving innovation is at the core of our DNA, and we look forward to once again introducing new turbine technology to the market.

“The increasingly larger turbines and projects have been key drivers in making offshore wind cheaper than newly-built, fossil-based power generation,” he said. “Electrification through renewable energy is the fastest and most cost-efficient way to achieve the decarbonisation of Europe needed to fight global warming.”

Some 1.2 million households will be served by the new projects once online, with 3.7 million tons of CO2 emissions saved yearly compared to fossil-based power generation. The 1.142GW order almost doubles the 1.3GW of offshore wind plant Orsted has already installed off Germany.

The SG11.0-200DD turbine is the next upscaled evolution of the OEM’s 10MW model, the SG10.0-193DD, revealed exclusively by SGRE CEO Markus Tacke to Recharge last year and then uptuned to the SG11.0-193 in November.

These designs are meant to serve to “bridge market demand” until the new top-of the-range model is – the hotly anticipated ‘1X’ concept, thought to be in the range of 14-16MW – is in showrooms in 2024-25.

A ‘protective’ patent application staking a claim on a number of future-looking blade and rotor innovations that might be considered for the ‘1X’ technology on its way to launch in the mid-2020s was filed recently by the OEM.

The model for Borkum Riffgrund 3 and Gode Wind 3, which will fly a 200-meter diameter rotor built around the 97-meter-long B97 IntegralBlade, an extended version of the B94 design, will generate 9% higher annual energy production than the original 10MW machine.

“Through close collaboration with both customers and suppliers, the upgrade has been made possible by utilising the flexible IntegralBlade production setup in the SGRE blade factories. Extensive R&D has gone into developing the new blade, with a focus on keeping blade weight increase below 3.5% even as rotor diameter increases by 3.5%,” said the OEM, in a statement.

Rival OEM GE has its 12MW Haliade-X prototype up and turning in the Port of Rotterdam in the Netherlands, with first orders in the bag for the world’s biggest offshore wind farm, Equinor-SSE’s 3.6GW Dogger Bank off the UK, as well as for Orsted’s 1.1GW Ocean Wind and 120MW Skip Jack projects in the US Atlantic.

GE, along with the third member of the big three offshore wind turbine makers, MHI Vestas – which recently started-up its 9.5MW prototype, also at Osterild, and has a 10MW model signed up for use on projects including the 30MW Gulf of Lion floating project off France, is also understood to be looking at upscaling its turbine design to 14MW-plus, as it is widely expected machines of this size will be needed to make the economics of the coming wave of zero-subsidy projects off Europe viable.

The International Renewable Energy Agency has predicted the global offshore wind build-out could reach 1TW of plant by 2050. And the World Bank produced a study late last year that suggested “emerging” plays alone could ultimately add as much 3TW to the worldwide fleet.

A recent report from European wind advocacy body WindEurope pointed to Europe alone seeing its offshore wind plant base growing to 450GW by mid-century and meeting 30% of the continent’s power demand.