World's most powerful turbine blades arrive in Belfast to become new state-of-art wind farm
The world's most powerful wind turbine blades have arrived in Belfast Harbour as part of a project to build an offshore wind farm in the Irish Sea.
The blades - and their 88m high towers - can be seen from across much of the city. They were manufactured in the UK by MHI Vestas Offshore Wind.
The first six massive 80m long blades - the length of nine double decker buses - have arrived in Belfast Harbour's offshore wind terminal from the Isle of Wight and the completed wind farm will provide enough power for 230,000 homes.
Each blade weighs 35 tonnes and the turbines, to be assembled in Belfast Harbour, will 'sweep' an area larger than the London Eye. In this phase, 32 turbines will be assembled in Belfast. Joe O'Neill, Belfast Harbour's commercial director, said: "Belfast Harbour is delighted to welcome MHI Vestas and to have the privilege of handling the world's most powerful blades.
"In 2013, we completed the development of a 50 acre offshore wind terminal, the first bespoke facility of its kind in the UK, in order to facilitate this style of operation."
The MHI Vestas V164-8.0MW machine is the world's most powerful wind turbine and has much larger components than those previously handled in Belfast.
After the turbines are assembled, they will be transported on a state-of-the-art jack-up vessel which will install them on the seabed just off the coast of Liverpool this autumn. The wind farm will cover an area equal to 6,000 Premiership football pitches.
The tip height of the blade and turbine will be almost 200m. The record level of energy produced from one turbine in a 24-hr period is 192 MWh - the amount of energy produced by 22,600 litres of oil.
The blades, which were designed, tested and manufactured at the MHI Vestas on the Isle of Wight, will be the first UK-built blades to be installed at a British offshore wind power plant.
MHI Vestas CEO, Jens Tommerup, said: "It's a significant milestone for the industry to see the blades in serial production arriving in Belfast ready for installation.
"This marks the first time locally manufactured major components for offshore wind turbines are being used in the UK.
"These high-technology blades are hand-crafted to withstand the harshest conditions.
"Combined with our manufacturing facility and the provision of a dedicated pre-assembly terminal by Belfast Harbour it's now possible to start tapping into the potential of wind power from the Irish Sea."