Last year the wind energy industry was revolutionized when GE Renewable Energy announced it was building the Haliade-X 12 MW offshore turbine, with the world’s longest blades at 107 meters in length.
The blades, produced at our plant in Cherbourg, France are record-breaking in their own right, but there are many associated “firsts” that come with a project of this size.
On August 13, we were proud to confirm the first LM 107.0 P blade was safely and successfully loaded onto the shipping vessel in the Cherbourg harbor, and the blade has now begun its journey to ORE Catapult’s testing facilities in Blyth in the North East of England. Once there, the Haliade-X nacelle and blade will undergo an advanced technology testing program to ensure they are ready for years of offshore operation.
Transporting a blade of this size is no mean feat. There are many intermediate steps in handling the blade from its base in the factory, outside to the port and finally onto the vessel. According to Kirsten Bank Christensen, Senior Manager Transport Products & Services for LM Wind Power, the whole process takes meticulous planning and coordination.
“Transportation of mega blades is a complex and ever-evolving challenge,” Kirsten said. “I have worked in the wind industry since 1996. The development shows it is not just ‘business as usual’, and the innovation and development we’re seeing is continuously expanding. Boundaries continuously need to be stretched and challenged. This is one of the aspects I find truly amazing. We are front-runners in the industry, we have what it takes to succeed and I’m proud to be a part of it.”
Saying farewell to the first 107-meter blade is also a source of pride for our team in Cherbourg.
“We are very proud to launch the world’s first blade over 100 meters, and this first shipment is a concrete expression of the hard work accomplished by the teams since the start-up of this program,” said Erwan Le Floch, Cherbourg Plant Director.
“It is thanks to the high commitment of the LM Wind Power and GE Renewable Energy teams from all our plants worldwide and design offices that this dream could come true here in Cherbourg. All the recently hired local people are extremely grateful for the skill transfer and have the willingness to perform to their best, actively participating in the development of offshore wind. We all feel that we are participating in something far greater than us.”
Next stop: England!
The LM 107.0 P blade left our factory in Cherbourg, France on August 13, 2019.
Photo credit (above and below): Manche Drones Production.
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