Come take a look at the world’s largest offshore wind energy converter

11 Aug 2015

The Norwegian town of Haugesund was treated to a rather amazing sight this week in the form of the world’s largest offshore wind energy converter — which towers 100m in the air, making it as tall as Big Ben.

The world’s largest offshore wind energy converter has been dubbed the DolWin beta by its producers ABB – which has offices in Ireland – and is being towed out to its new home in the North Sea.

The company says the gargantuan converter station has a 916MW power transmission capacity, making it the world’s most powerful installation of its kind, producing enough energy to power more than 1m households with clean energy.

Measuring 100m tall and long by 70m in width, the station is part of the DolWin2 project and will connect offshore wind farms in the North Sea’s DolWin cluster, currently the largest offshore wind farm cluster worldwide, with the German power grid.

Its main purpose will be to convert the electricity generated by the offshore wind farms from alternating current (AC) into high-voltage direct current (HVDC) for efficient and reliable transmission to the mainland.

Shipped from Dubai but built in the Norwegian town’s shipyard, the DolWin beta weighs around 23,000 tonnes and will secure itself to the ocean floor using an innovative self-installing gravity-based structure (GBS) concept.

“Putting such a huge platform in place is one of the most delicate operations in the delivery of an offshore power link, requiring intensive pre-planning and cooperation between the stakeholders involved and we are pleased that this important project landmark has gone smoothly,” said Claudio Facchin, President, ABB Power Systems division.

DolWin2 is part of Germany’s ambitious clean energy plan designated ‘Energiewende’, which aims to generate more than 6.5GW from offshore wind by 2020 and 15GW by 2030.


Wind energy DolWin infographic

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic