Gemini Wind Farm Reflects European Trend Toward Renewable Energy

by Carter Palmer, Power Systems Specialist, Forecast International.

As there is a growing desire to shift our dependence from fossil fuels to renewable energies, the construction of wind farms has become a priority for many countries, especially in Europe. The Netherlands in particular has undertaken the development of Gemini, a large offshore wind farm located off the coast of Groningen. With the recent installation of the 50th turbine, the Gemini project has passed an important milestone.

The project, with 60 percent ownership by Northland Power, is in response to the EU’s renewables directive of 2009, which mandates that 20 percent of the EU’s energy be from renewable sources by 2020. The wind farm will join seven other wind farms in the Netherlands, both onshore and offshore. Powering 785,000 households, the Dutch facility is slated to be the biggest in the North Sea, producing 600 MW of power.

The star of the show is the Siemens SWT-4.0-130 wind turbine, generating 4 MW of power with a 130-meter rotor. An improvement over the prolific SWT-3.6-120, the turbine offers many new features that make it stand out. When it comes to wind turbines, the bigger the better, and the blades feature a new design that allows for a larger rotor without any major structural changes. The generator has improvements as well, which in combination with the rotor leads to a 15 percent increase in energy production.  The Gemini project will be powered by 150 of the new turbines.

The Netherlands is the 10th largest producer of wind power in the EU, producing 3,431 MW. By adding the new turbines, the Gemini project puts the Netherlands on course to meeting the EU’s mandate.

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