Wind power has that potential to rise as a key energy industry that, alongside geothermal and solar, stands as a attractive alternative to coal and other carbon based fuels. However, leading wind power companies are facing new pressure to remain profitable as European countries start to phase out green energy subsidies over the next ten years. With reduced revenue for investment, offshore wind operators are looking at ways they can boost their income for every megawatt they generate, and the proposed megaturbine may be a solution.
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The Rise Of The Megaturbine
Siemens Gamesa, a renewable energy manufacturing venture is in the process of building a megaturbine prototype that could be operational by the early 2020s. The proposed turbine could stand at a height over 980 feet (300 meters), reaching nearly as high as some of Europe’s tallest structures, including the Shard of London and the Eiffel Tower. The rotor of the megaturbine would reach a span of over 650 feet (200 meters), with each blade reaching nearly 160 feet in length (50 meters).
Sweeping The Sky
The extended sweep of the megaturbine would harness a great deal more wind than most that comprise today’s wind farms, effectively reducing the cost per megawatt. The largest turbines that are currently in operation generate about eight megawatts of power, while the proposed megaturbine would generate between 10 and 15 megawatts.
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New Heights And New Obstacles
Before the impressively sized turbines could actually be put to work, there are a number of technical obstacles that must be overcome. Their massive size and the constant changes in wind would require the megaturbines to be made from notably strong composite materials and adhesives that must also be lightweight. A higher carbon-fiber content in the construction of the turbine blades has been suggested as a possible solution to this issue. There’s also a question of whether non-subsidized wind power will generate enough power to yield a profit and, in addition to extended harnessing capabilities, a justifiable return will depend on an increase in electricity prices.
Even with the potential to profit in question, research teams from across the U.S. and Europe are rising to meet the challenges of building as well as the cost of wind turbines that may soon shadow skyscrapers. Do you think such an endeavor will be successful? Comment and share your thoughts.