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These giant wind turbines are powering a cheaper future

28th September 2017

Seven kilometres off the west coast of Britain, 32 wind turbines spin gently in the breeze – each one so big they would tower over the London Eye. Located at Burbo Bank wind farm, seven kilometres from Liverpool Bay, they are the biggest turbines to be used commercially anywhere in the world. Each stands 195 metres tall – 53 metres taller than a standard turbine – with a diameter of 164 metres. The energy generated by one complete rotation can power one home for more than a day. “They’re extremely powerful machines,” says Benj Sykes, UK manager for offshore wind company Dong Energy, which operates the wind farm.

For turbines, size equals efficiency. These ones are designed to turn more than 80 per cent of the time: when it is working at full capacity, the farm can meet the electricity demand of 230,000 homes. “It's got a very big rotor, it's more efficient at catching energy from the wind over a wider range of wind speeds,” Skyes explains. “They cut in at quite low wind speeds – four or five metres a second.”

 

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