Even Bigger Wind Turbine Blades
by Pete Danko
Wind turbines keep getting bigger, and the Port of Vancouver continues to welcome the giant renewable energy components.
The port last week received a shipment of turbine blades measuring 76 meters -- about 249 feet. Manufactured in China, they’re bound for a wind farm in Saskatchewan.
They'll be the longest blades ever transported across North America, the port said.
They also beat the port’s blade-length record of 67 meters set just a few months ago.
"Our customers know we can handle this large cargo with our heavy lift cranes, acres of laydown space, highly skilled workforce and dedication to renewable energy," Alex Strogen, the port's chief commercial officer, said in a statement.
Longer blades give turbines greater "swept area," increasing energy capture for each watt of installed capacity. That translates to power production at closer to full capacity on a more consistent basis. The longer blades are becoming more commonly used in the industry, especially at sites with low-to-medium wind speeds.
The 76-meter blades create a turbine with a diameter of 155 meters and a generating capacity of 4.2 megawatts.
Most of the turbines installed in the Pacific Northwest in the 2000s and 2010s top out at 110-meter diameter and generate around 2.5 megawatts. But the new Montague facility in Gilliam County, powering Apple Inc. operations, has 136-meter, 3.6-megawatt turbines.
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