The world has never produced more electricity from wind, and each year the records keep tumbling as the technology to create bigger and bigger wind turbines advances.
The newest beast to capture even more of this renewable energy is capable of producing 9.5 megawatts (MW) of electricity on its own—enough to power more than 8,000 homes in the UK.
The Danish company, MHI Vestas, specializes in making offshore wind turbines. Its V164-9.5 is an upgrade to the V164, which can produce 8 MW of electricity. The only changes needed were to install a redesigned gearbox and a new cooling system.
These wind turbines are really large. The V164’s three blades are each about 80 meters long, which is about the length of a soccer field. Each blade weighs about 35,000 kilograms. When they rotate, they cover an area that’s more than 10 baseball fields.
Typically, such large turbines are only used offshore, where it’s easier to install them without a backlash from nearby residents, who have been known to complain about noise and ungainly views. Still, some of them can be found on dry land, such as Enercon’s E-126 turbines, which can produce 7.5 MW of electricity and have been installed in Germany and Belgium.