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Turbine Size

 

In 2018, a total of 56 different turbine types and 114 different configurations (type, output, rotor diameter and hub height) were installed in Germany. The Enercon E-115 with a capacity of 3 MW was the most frequently installed, followed by the Vestas V126 with 3.45 MW. The turbine types used are adapted to site-specific conditions both in terms of output and rotor diameter and hub height.

The following figure shows that the rotor diameters of the plants added in 2018 are in the range of 48 - 149 metres with an average value of 118 metres. As the box plot shows, 50 percent of the wind turbines with a rotor diameter of 114.5 meters to 127 meters were erected in a narrow band despite this large span. The maximum rotor diameter of the turbines designed for the onshore market increased by 7 meters to 149 meters in 2018 and is now held by Nordex N149. The average rotor diameter of the dismantled wind turbines in 2018 was 62 meters by comparison.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Box plots of rotor diameter, hub height, rated capacity and specific rated capacity of the wind turbines installed in 2018

Data Source: [BNetzA]

 

 

The technical properties shown in the following figure were used in practice in 2018 in a wide variety of combinations as diverse system types (as can be seen in the following two figures). A striking example are Siemens SWT3.6-130 wind turbines with an output of 3.6 MW, which were installed with hub heights of only 85 meters and hub heights of up to 165 meters.

 

 

 

 

Rated capacity by rotor diameter of different types of wind turbine

Data sources: [Keiler und Häuser], [BNetzA]

 

 

With increasing altitude, the wind speed increases considerably depending on the location. Since the power contained in the wind is proportional to the third power of the wind speed, the hub height has a decisive influence on the yield of the wind turbine. In 2018, the hub height of the installed wind turbine was between 50 and 166 metres (see following figure). The highest wind turbine erected in 2018 was a Vestas V136 turbine with a hub height of 166 metres. The maximum overall height of a wind turbine up to the wing tip has risen to 234 metres. On average, the hub height of newly erected wind turbines rose by 5 meters to 133 meters compared to 2017. 50 percent of the wind turbines were between 131 and 149 meters high. At the same time, the height restrictions existing at certain locations result in the partially low hub heights of newly erected wind turbines.

 

 

 

 

Rated capacity by hub height of different types and configurations of wind turbine

Data sources: [Keiler und Häuser], [BNetzA]

 

 

If the hub height is set in relation to the respective DIBt wind zone of the site (see following figure), it can be seen that the addition of wind turbines with small hub heights is largely limited to wind zones III and IV. In wind zones I and II mainly large hub heights can be found. Since strong wind speeds already prevail at lower altitudes on the coast, the turbines can already achieve a high yield there with lower hub heights. Due to a higher surface roughness, good wind speeds in low mountain ranges are only achieved at higher altitudes.

 

 

 

 

Proportions of the various hub heights in new builds and the DIBt wind zones

Data sources: [DIBt], [BNetzA]

 

 

In line with the trend towards larger dimensions, the average plant output also rises continuously. At around 3.34 MW, the average capacity of the wind turbines erected in 2018 grew by a whopping 12.1 percent compared with 2017. The turbines erected in 2018 have an average rotor diameter of around 118 meters (+4.4 percent compared to 2017) and a hub height of around 133 meters (+3.9 percent compared to 2017).

 

 

Highcharts Example
Data source for image

 

Data source: [Keiler und Häuser]

 

 

 

Highcharts Example
Data source for image

 

Data source: [Keiler und Häuser]