A GE Renewable Energy official said Monday that the company has finalized supply and service contracts on its 12-megawatt turbines for a 1,100-megawatt offshore wind project to be built about 15 miles southeast of Atlantic City.
Ocean Wind will be New Jersey’s first offshore wind farm, built by Danish company Ørsted North America. When it first announced it intended to use the GE Haliade-X 12 MW wind turbines in September 2019, Ørsted called the turbines the largest and most powerful in the world.
They were still being tested then. GE Renewable spokesman Timothy Brown said Monday that since then the model has has gotten a “type certificate” from DNV-GL, calling it “the world’s largest independent certification body, providing independent verification that the new turbine will operate safely, reliably and according to design specifications.”
Ørsted also has the option of using the 13 MW version, still in development, according to GE.
Ocean Wind is expected to begin providing energy to the equivalent of about a half-million homes by 2024, and will be the third-largest wind farm in the world when it opens. The latest contract includes a five-year service and warranty agreement, according to GE.
In March 2018, GE announced it was embarking on producing the world’s first 12 MW turbine, which some in the industry said could not be done.
Ørsted will first use the 12 MW turbines on its much smaller 120 MW Skipjack wind farm off Maryland, expected to be in operation by the end of 2023. Skipjack and Ocean Wind will be the world’s first commercial deployment of GE’s Haliade-X 12 MW offshore wind turbine, according to Ørsted.
An Ørsted executive said in 2019 that most turbines currently in use are 8 MW to 9 MW machines.
Ørsted was the first to deploy an 8 MW turbine in 2016. A 12 MW platform represents a 50% increase in power output per unit, according to the company.
The GE turbine has a rotor diameter of 722 feet. Each blade is 351 feet long, sweeping a total area of 409,000 square feet, according to Ørsted.
To put it in perspective, the company said turbines available in 1991 when Ørsted constructed the world’s first offshore wind farm in Europe, only had a capacity to generate 0.45 MW. Back then, a 600 MW offshore wind farm would have required more than 1,300 wind turbines.
Using 12 MW turbines, 600 MW can be achieved with only 50 units. Technological improvements have made producing offshore wind much cheaper, the company has said. The United States’ first wind farm, a 30 MW facility now operated by Ørsted off of Block Island, Rhode Island, used 6 MW turbines, according to the company.
In the U.S. alone, seven states on the East Coast have committed to building a total of 20 gigawatts of offshore wind capacity by 2035.
In the United States, Ørsted has been awarded the rights to build offshore wind farms to serve the markets of Maryland, New Jersey, Rhode Island, New York and Connecticut. They will have a total capacity of about 2.9 gigawatts and will be built by 2024, the company has said.