Where Will the World's Biggest Wind Farm Be Built? (Hint: Head North)
This shows Enercon's 6 MW turbines, currently the world's largest (in capacity).
Wind power, after experiencing dead calm for the last 1.5 years as developers struggled to get approval and investment money for their projects, is suddenly moving briskly again. Projects are percolating onshore and off from Delaware to Demark to London to Latvia. The potential for wind is so huge - 1,100 GW could be installed by 2030 says IEA - and the power produced so low carbon it's a bit of a wonder the world has waited so long to wake up and sniff the wind. But where will the biggest project be? If you guessed the London Array, the huge 1 GW offshore wind project scheduled to be built in London's Thames Estuary, or the nearby 1.5 GW Atlantic Array you would be close, but no cigar. Dinky little Sweden gets to claim the honor...at least for awhile.
Photo of a single turbine at the Markbygden site by Svevind.
That's a lot of turbines
At the Markbygden project in the heart of Sweden's Lappland, the plan is to erect 1,101 turbines for a total capacity of between 3 and 4 GW. If Svevind, Markbygden's project developers, succeed, they'll not only have the biggest wind farm in terms of turbines, but also in size of territory - the farm would spread over 450 square kilometers of land. And if all goes according to plan, Markbygden may also be graced with some of the world's biggest turbines - at 7.5 MW of capacity they tower over turbines currently in use.
Joint Swedish - German monster wind farm
The Swedes have thus far approved only small portions of the Markbygden wind farm, which will require a huge amount of capital and technology. Right now Svevind is in the process of erecting 12 pilot turbines and just got permission to put up 8 more, one of them the monster 7.5 MW turbine. Svevind has also received permission to make the turbine platforms up to 200 meters tall (the world's tallest). Parent company Svevind has partnered with German turbine manufacturer Enercon on the Markbygden project, which is estimated to cost 55 billion Swedish crowns (US$6.9 billion). Enercon will build its own factory for turbines in the region as well as a service center. Markbygden is not scheduled to be complete until around 2020.
Too bad, Texas?
Texas currently holds the title for the world's biggest wind farm with the 627-turbine Roscoe Wind Complex, which spreads across 100,000 acres of Texas farmland, and provides 781.5 MW of capacity - enough to power 230,000 homes. T. Boone Pickens was planning an even larger wind farm in Texas, but this summer he scrapped those plans in favor of smaller wind sites scattered around the mid-West.
Read more about big wind farms at TreeHugger
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