Celebrating 30 years of offshore adventure
Brande / 26 August 2021
This year marks the 30th anniversary of Vindeby, the world’s very first offshore wind power project. Installed in 1991, the 4.95 MW project featuring 11 turbines with a 450 kW capacity and 35-meter rotor lay the groundwork for every single offshore project in the world since. Marking this milestone allows us to reflect how far we’ve come, and on how Siemens Gamesa is dedicated to leading the offshore revolution.
"We wanted to show it was possible to install and maintain an offshore wind farm project to generate power," Anders Johannes Jensen, Senior Sales Specialist, -who is still working at Siemens Gamesa thirty years later- remembers.
Over the course of a year, the company carefully developed and tested this new turbine and the first-of-its-kind technology that went into it. The new turbine was the largest at the time and even though it needed modifications to be suitable for offshore use, it was built using proven technology and lessons learned from previous onshore turbines.
Vindeby is now widely known as the single project which set off these industry-wide winds of change. In fact, this project has been listed as the 32nd most important project in the world on a list of the top 50 most influential projects of the last 50 years by the Project Management Institute. The list includes projects such as the invention of the internet and the first landing on the moon.
“During the construction of the Vindeby wind turbines I took part in designing, specifying and fabrication of the steel structure. I also took part in the decommission of the wind turbines to get learnings – learnings that were later distributed to the industry in order for us to make even better wind turbines for the future”, says Jens Thomsen, Senior Key Expert, Innovation at Siemens Gamesa.
While Vindeby may be decommissioned now, it’s pioneering spirit put Siemens Gamesa on the right path. The company initiated the offshore wind market with that first project 30 years ago, then developed it, and later pushed the entire industry forward to a new dimension with the launch of the SG 14-222 DD. With 14 MW and rotor of 222 meters, its energy capacity is 31 times greater than those turbines at Vindeby!
“Looking back my biggest learning over the last 30 years has been that while we were enthusiastic about wind back then and had big expectations, we now see that in combination with technologies for energy storage, electrolysis for hydrogen production, power-to-X and other technologies which have now become within commercial reach, wind has an even bigger potential to provide a major part (or all?) of the renewable energy that our modern societies need,” Kim Dyre Jespersen, Senior General Advisor, Warranty Management at Siemens Gamesa, adds. “That we did not at all foresee back then – and it makes me even prouder.”
“The Vindeby offshore wind project is a very fine industry story and shows the great potential for offshore wind”, Jens concludes. Here's to another 30 years offshore!