Giant 7MW Fife offshore turbine completed


Reach for the skies: The turbine is taller than the highest Forth Bridge span
Reach for the skies: The turbine is taller than the highest Forth Bridge span

World's largest and most powerful turbine is expected to be operational by the end of the year

Reach for the skies: The turbine is taller than the highest Forth Bridge span

Samsung Heavy Industries has finished erecting what is said to be the world’s largest and most powerful wind turbine at the Fife Energy Park, Scotland.

The prototype turbine, which is being installed 50m off the coast in the Firth of Forth, is 196m tall with 83.5m long blades and has a capacity of 7MW. It is taller than the highest span of the nearby Forth Bridge and the BT Tower in London.

The nacelle and three blades were installed last month and the turbine is expected to be fully operational by the end of the year. 

The S7.0-171 turbine is the first that Samsung Heavy Industries (SHI) has installed. The company has 20 staff based at the Fife Renewables Innovation Centre and is investing £70 million in the demonstrator scheme. It plans to locate its European HQ and manufacturing in Fife if there are sufficient European sales of the turbine.

Deputy project manager Youngjae Lee of SHI said he expects the test programme to commence by the end of the year, with type certification of the turbine expected in the first half of 2014.

“The weather is a critical factor for this complex installation operation, and we were delighted to have had the right conditions to proceed with the tower installation. There has been a great deal of activity on-site in preparation for this, and it has been good to see the structure really starting to take shape,” he said.

Type certification will allow SHI to give prospective customers indicative performance data for the new machine, such as power output at variable wind speeds, but it will not signal an end to the test programme – which could run for up to five years.

Maggie McGinlay, director of energy and clean technologies at Scottish Enterprise, said the SHI project built on the country’s growing reputation as a global centre for next-generation offshore wind energy technologies.

“This, along with planned investment from other key players such as Areva and Gamesa, is helping to create a potential manufacturing hub on the east coast, which would lead to significant opportunities for our supply chain companies,” she said.

“Today marks a key milestone in this work, and we look forward to continuing to work with SHI to support its long-term ambitions for Scotland.”

SHI, which is better known for building ships, started making wind turbines four years ago and has installations in the US and Canada.


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