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Offshore Wind Journal

Offshore Wind Journal

China looks west for custom-built blades and expertise

Thu 26 Oct 2017

China looks west for custom-built blades and expertise
Industry leaders such as LM Wind Power are working closely with Chinese companies to provide bespoke products

Chinese turbine manufacturers are turning to western manufacturers for customised blades for their next-generation offshore turbines  

In October 2017, Denmark-headquartered LM Wind Power unveiled what is said to be the longest blade for an offshore turbine in the Chinese market, the 75.1 m long LM 75.1 P, which was custom designed and built for Goldwind’s new 6.7 MW turbine.

The first LM 75.1 P prototype blade was completed in September at LM Wind Power’s Jiangyin plant.

The Chinese company’s 6.7 MW platform will be the largest offshore turbine in China and, combined with the LM 75.1 P, was designed specifically for Wind Class I areas offshore southern China off the coast of Fujian and Guangdong.

LM Wind Power’s vice president, offshore, Alexis Crama said “We have more than 25 years of experience with offshore blades, including a strong track record in Europe and China.

“With the LM 75.1 P, we are building on that expertise to deliver optimal performance for Goldwind’s turbine. We look forward to supporting Goldwind’s ambitions to unlock the vast potential for developing the Chinese offshore market.”

The new blade continues LM Wind Power and Goldwind’s long-standing collaboration in China. In January 2017, LM Wind Power announced that its newly developed 66.9 m blades for Goldwind’s 3 MW wind turbine platform, the GW3S, had been installed on the first prototype turbine in Zhangbei.

LM Wind Power currently employs around 2,500 people in China. The company operates blade manufacturing facilities in Tianjin, Qinhuangdao and Jiangyin and is ramping up production in Baodi.

Shortly after the above announcement, LM Wind Power also confirmed that it had signed an agreement to develop a 71.8 m blade for another Chinese offshore wind company, Envision.

To enable it to build the new blades, LM Wind Power’s Jiangyin factory will expand and its manufacturing capacity will increase by 50%. The 71.8 m blade will be fitted to Envision’s new 4.5 MW platform and is expected to be installed for the first time in H1 2018.

The new large-rotor turbine is designed to effectively meet the requirements of Wind Class II and III areas offshore northern China.

Mr Crama said he anticipates that the Chinese offshore wind market will grow on average by 40% annually for the next five years. “LM Wind Power has been part of this journey since the beginning,” he said, “and we are investing significantly in new product development and technology for the Chinese market, including manufacturing capacity and people.”

In Q2 2017, LM Wind Power unveiled another blade factory in China that is now part of its manufacturing setup. The new facility will be located in the Baodi district in the northeastern part of China, 40 km from LM Wind Power’s existing plant in Tianjin, which was established in 2001. The Baodi facility will be LM Wind Power’s fourth Chinese blade plant and the company’s 15th worldwide.

Siemens-Gamesa unit gets GWO accreditation

Elsewhere in the Chinese offshore wind market, there was another important development in October, when the first Chinese wind turbine manufacturer was certified for basic safety training to the Global Wind Organisation (GWO) standard.

Working with Lloyd’s Register (LR), Siemens-Gamesa has become the first wind turbine manufacturer in the country to be certified to provide GWO Basic Safety Training (BST). The GWO BST framework was used by LR to assess Siemens-Gamesa’s approach to achieving a safer work environment. The certificate was presented at Siemens-Gamesa’s Tianjin Training Centre, which is now authorised to provide safety training to other companies in China to help reduce risks for employees working in the wind power industry.

The end goal of the GWO BST is to verify that an organisation can consistently deliver training for its own employees, or to other company’s employees, to the relevant GWO standards that are set by its members. This approach helps to develop common industry training and best-practice processes on health and safety and reducing risks.

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