The new wind turbine in Gaildorf, Germany, is set to raise the bar in the energy revolution with its hub height of 178 meters and overall height of 246.5 meters. The world’s highest wind turbine is part of a wind farm that includes a total of four wind turbines with hub heights from 155 meters and high-efficiency 3.4 megawatt (MW) turbines from GE, which are due to feed green energy into the German power grid from spring 2018. The German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety (BMUB) is funding this project with €7.15 million from its environmental innovation program. It isn’t just the turbine's size that is spectacular but also the combination of turbine and state-of-the-art pumped storage hydroelectric plant, ensuring unprecedented efficiency in the production and storage of renewable energies.
The basic problem with wind turbines is well known - when the wind blows hard and a surplus of renewable energy is generated that can no longer be fed into the public grid, energy production needs to be reduced, as there is a lack of appropriate storage capabilities. That's why the turbine in Gaildorf combines the generation of renewable energy from wind energy and hydropower, with the wind turbine's tower foundations also serving as water tanks. They are linked to a pumped storage hydroelectric plant in the valley via underground pressure pipelines. The plant has three turbines and can supply up to 16 megawatts of power. Its electrical storage capacity has been designed for a total of 70 megawatt hours. This technology also displays a further positive effect - as the wind turbine tower foundations have been enlarged to store water, it has been possible to increase the height by 40 meters. Calculations show that with each additional meter of hub height, the annual electricity yield rises by 0.5 to 1 percent. High hub heights also mean less wind turbulence and much better wind yield, particularly on inland sites with less wind.
Max Bögl Wind AG (D-92369 Sengenthal)