In a groundbreaking achievement, China has successfully installed an 18 MW wind turbine, the largest in the world by power rating. This monumental feat was accomplished by the state-owned Dongfang Electric Corporation on June 5 at a coastal test base in South China’s Guangdong province.

As the global push towards renewable energy intensifies, wind turbines are becoming increasingly vital. Original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) are now focused on building larger and more efficient turbines to harness the powerful winds of the seas, capable of supplying energy to numerous households with each rotation.

DongFang unveiled its 18 MW wind turbine models at the China Wind Power event in October last year. Less than a year later, they have successfully installed this massive infrastructure.

The 18 MW turbine features a rotor diameter of 853 feet (260 meters), covering an area of over 570,000 square feet (53,000 square meters), equivalent to more than seven standard football fields. The company estimates that this turbine will generate 72 million kilowatt-hours (kWh) of energy annually, enough to meet the energy needs of 36,000 households. Additionally, it will prevent the burning of 22,000 tonnes of coal and the release of 59,000 tonnes of carbon emissions.

Interestingly, DongFang is not the only company in China with an 18 MW turbine. MingYang Smart Energy has also developed an 18 MW turbine capable of exceeding 20 MW of power output on particularly windy days.

Last year, a 16 MW turbine set a remarkable record by generating 384 MWh of energy within 24 hours, enough to power 170,000 households, thanks to wind speeds of 53 miles (83 kilometers) per hour. The South China Morning Post reported that another Chinese OEM, GoldWind, designed turbines that could adjust their blades and continue generating energy without shutting down, a significant departure from industry norms.

The trend of constructing larger wind turbines is predominantly seen among Chinese manufacturers. European companies, such as Vestas, which previously held the record for maximum energy output from a turbine, have no plans to build turbines larger than 16 MW. GE Electric, another major Western turbine maker, considered developing a 17-18 MW version of its popular Halide series but shelved the plans earlier this year due to offshore business losses and a focus on fulfilling existing orders.

Chinese manufacturers, on the other hand, have rapidly advanced in the installation of offshore wind turbines, completing installations in as little as 24 hours. It is not surprising that China leads in installing the world’s first 18 MW turbine, and we can expect more innovations from this region in the future.

By Impact Lab