The world’s most powerful wind turbine blades have ‘breezed’ into Belfast Harbour as part of a project to develop an offshore wind farm in the Irish Sea. The blades – plus their 88m high towers - are visible from across much of the city.
The first six massive 80m long blades – the equivalent length of nine double decker London buses – have arrived in Belfast Harbour’s offshore wind terminal from the Isle of Wight. The completed wind farm will provide enough renewable electricity for 230,000 homes.
Each blade weighs 35 tonnes and the turbines, which will be assembled in Belfast Harbour, will ‘sweep’ an area larger than the London Eye (21,124 sq m). During this phase of the project, 32 turbines will be assembled in Belfast. The blades are manufactured in the UK by MHI Vestas Offshore Wind.
Joe O’Neill, Belfast Harbour’s Commercial Director, said:
“Belfast Harbour is delighted to welcome MHI Vestas and to have the privilege of handling the world’s most powerful blades. In 2013, we completed the development of a 50 acre offshore wind terminal, the first bespoke facility of its kind in the UK in order to facilitate this style of operation. Supporting the growth of the renewable energy sector is something we are proud to be a part of and look forward to working with Vestas to ensure the successful completion of the Burbo Bank Extension project.”
The MHI Vestas V164-8.0MW machine is the world’s most powerful wind turbine with significantly larger components than those previously handled in Belfast.
After the turbines are assembled in Belfast they will be transported on a state-of-the-art jack up vessel which will install them on the seabed, just off the coast of Liverpool. The wind farm will cover 40km2, the same area of almost 6,000 Premiership football pitches.
Once operational, the tip height of the blade and turbine will be almost 200m. The record level of energy produced from just one turbine in a 24-hr period is 192 MWh – the same amount of energy produced by 22,600 litres of oil.
The blades, which were designed, tested and manufactured at the MHI Vestas on the Isle of Wight, will be the first UK built blades to be installed at a British offshore wind power plant.
MHI Vestas CEO, Jens Tommerup, said:
“It’s a significant milestone for the industry to see the blades in serial production arriving in Belfast ready for installation. This marks the first time locally manufactured major components for offshore wind turbines are being used in the UK. These high-technology blades are hand-crafted to withstand the harshest conditions. Combined with our manufacturing facility and the provision of a dedicated pre-assembly terminal by Belfast Harbour it’s now possible to start tapping into the potential of wind power from the Irish Sea.”
Installation of the turbines is scheduled to take place this autumn.