General Electric invested 400 million dollars to create the Haliade-X. It is the largest wind turbine to ever be manufactured, sitting 260 metres above sea level. The Haliade-X in the 12MW variant, has a 63% capacity factor above industry standard. It is as tall as an 85-story building and each blade is 107m long.  The entire rotor has a swept area of 38,000 SQM, which is equivalent to 7 American football fields in area!

Along with the Vestas 234/236, it is one of the first wind turbines to surpass 100m in blade length. The blade is 4m across the root section which is largely made of fibre glass and cleverly engineered with a deliberate bend in order to prevent the blades flexing and tricking the tower on especially breezy days.

Once fully operational, one Haliade-X 12MW wind turbine will generate 67GW hours a year, which is 45% more than the most powerful and efficient wind turbines operating today. It is estimated that a single Haliade-X Turbine, in an offshore setting, can generate enough power to supply 16,000 European households. Due to the turbine not utilizing fossil fuels for electricity generation, it is the equivalent of taking 9,000 cars off the road every year.

Currently situated in Maasvlakte, in the Dutch port of Rotterdam, is the prototype and approved concept of Haliade-X. Its most striking early application will be on the $10billion Dogger Bank wind farm which is currently under development to serve UK markets. It is 160km off the Yorkshire coast in the North Sea. DoggerBank will roll out in three separate stages (A, B & C). Stages A & B will collectively generate 2,400MWs from 190 Haliade-X 13MW offshore wind turbines, scheduled to deliver its first power to the grid as early as 2023. Once fully operational around 2026, Dogger Bank will supply around 6 million UK homes, which is the equivalent to 5% of the whole country’s energy consumption.

Offshore wind projects around the world are now lining up to order the Haliade-X. Energy giant Orsted have ordered a raft of them for two of its projects off of the east coast of the United States. Swedish utility firm, Vattenfall, also announced it will be deploying the 12MW Haliade-X turbine for use on its Baltic and North Sea wind farms. In China, where wind energy development is in huge demand, a dedicated General Electric factory is being built to serve that specific turbine market.

As well as it being one of the largest turbines to date, many other innovations are being tried for the first time on the Haliade-X. Many of the ITS onboard diagnostics systems now work remotely, with engineering teams also developing a brand-new type of switch gear for the project. The switch gear helps the energy flow seamlessly from the turbine to power grid. Engineers at GE set themselves the challenge of developing a switch gear powerful enough to function but small enough to fit in the tower. The result is the “F35” at 2.4m high and 3.7m long at an astonishing 30% smaller than standard 66kw switch gears.

As the industry continues to expand each day and technology advances, be prepared to see amazing changes in the wind industry!