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T E S T CEN TRE Siemens Wind Power’s first turbine at Test Centre Østerild. The turbine is 196 metres high and generates output of 6 MW. The blades are so huge that they sweep an area bigger than two football pitches. The Danish government has the stated aim of ensuring that 50 per cent of Denmark’s electricity consumption is covered by power from wind turbines by 2020. The most efficient way to achieve that goal is to develop turbines that are considerably bigger than the ones in operation today. A key aspect in this regard is that in order to develop competitive wind turbines, it must be possible to test full-scale versions of the new turbines. Test Centre Østerild is the only site in the world today where such tests can be run under excellent geographical and weather conditions. Advanced technology A wind turbine is much more than a tower with blades; it is a complex hitech machine made up of more than 20,000 components which need to interact seamlessly for the turbine to produce a satisfactory volume of power. Wind turbines have come a long way since the early days of wind power back in the 1970s. A major European research project—UpWind—coordinated by DTU Wind Energy has now proved that it is possible to develop wind turbines up to 20 MW using existing technology and if new, innovative solutions that exploit the opportunities opened up by wind turbines on this scale are developed at the same time, it is expected that the very large turbines will be more efficient than the wind turbines today. A very close working relationship between researchers and industrial players has already produced several innovative leaps. For example, new materials, new designs and new production methods have been developed which have made the blades lighter, and new solutions are constantly being discovered which contribute to making turbines more efficient and competitive. Bigger wind turbines demand bigger test facilities All this development is the result not only of comprehensive research, but also of good facilities for testing both wind turbines and all the different components. The first modern test centre in Denmark—The Test Station for Small-scale Wind Turbines—was opened at Risø Research Centre (as it was known back then) near Roskilde in 1978. This was followed by the DTU Test Station for Large Wind Turbines in Høvsøre on the west coast of Jutland, which opened in 2002. Test Centre Østerild outside Thisted in Thy was opened on 6 October 2012 following four years of surveys and planning performed by DTU on behalf of the Danish State. At current capacity, this facility will allow the testing of wind turbines up to 250 metres in height with outputs of up to 16 MW, corresponding to the annual power consumption of 10–15,000 ordinary households. Danish wind turbine research leading the way Vestas and Siemens Wind Power— both based in Denmark—have each PHO TOS SIEMENS PRESS PIC TURE >> 32 Technical University of Denmark


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