Dong Energy gets green light to test next generation turbines in UK

The Gunfleet Sands 3 demonstration project, Dong Energy’s first in the UK, will see two 6MW Siemens turbines tested offshore for the first time. Located 8.5km south east of Clacton-on-Sea, Essex, the demonstration project will form part of Dong’s existing 172MW wind farm at the site.

The new turbines will be installed at the wind farm by November this year with construction starting in May, and will be connected through a dedicated export cable. Dong Energy will be looking to verify the performance, reliability and functionality of the turbines, which have a rotor diameter of 120 meters and a swept area of 11.500 m².

Dong said the project forms part of its drive to “industrialise” the offshore wind industry and bring down the cost of energy. The UK government is applying pressure on offshore wind operators to bring down the cost of offshore wind to £121-170/MWh, down from £191/MWh in 2010, as the UK’s third round of offshore wind development gathers pace. Morten Buchgreitz, deputy chief executive of Dong Energy said: “The Gunfleet Sands 3 demonstration project marks an important step in industry's efforts to reduce the cost of energy. The Round 3 projects in the UK are in deeper waters and will have a much bigger capacity than existing wind farms so the technology will increase in capacity as well.”

He added: “Dong Energy is focused on making offshore wind more competitive and proving that these bigger turbines work will help us achieve that goal. We are very pleased to receive the consent that gives us the opportunity to state our commitment to the growing wind industry in the UK.”

A prototype of the 6MW turbine is also being tested at an onshore test centre at Hovsore, Denmark.