The world’s largest wind turbine blade has just arrived in the city and town after an almost two-day voyage through the English Channel and the North Sea from Saint-Nazaire, a port in western France.

The size of the blade, which will type the rotor of GE’s Haliade-X 12 MW, the world’s largest and most powerful offshore wind turbine, defies superlatives. The blade — that was popped from its mildew at an lm wind power factory in Cherbourg, France, in April — might be one of the biggest single machine components ever created.  

Stretching 107 meters, it's twice as long as the wingspan of the Angel of the North, the iconic sculpture just south of Blyth that's the major landmark of this region.
Top and above: At 107 meters, lm Wind Energy’s blades for the Haliade-X 12 MW are the world’s longest. After loading the blade in Cherbourg, France, it arrived in Blyth, England, wherever it'll be tested at a later date.

Nevertheless, the blade’s purpose in Blyth is way from decorative. Over the future year, the part will endure a full vary of advanced testing procedures which will demonstrate its ability to stand for peak wind conditions and simulate the blade’s readiness for years of operation stumped. This includes static part tests wherever engineers steadily step up the load on the blade to prove its strength and flexibility, in much the same approach as an aircraft’s wings are put through their paces.

The Haliade-X 12 MW’s nacelle — the box at the top of a turbine tower that houses the power production kit (made from the gearbox, generator, and controller) — will also be tested in Blyth. The nacelle, which is comparable in size to six double-deckers London buses, houses a huge generator that could produce up to 12 megawatts of power, enough to provide 16,000 European households.

GE Renewable Energy is investing about £15 million in testing and research and development activities for the Haliade-X platform, primarily in the U.K., The Haliade-X 12 MW is set to enter serial production in 2021.

John Lavelle, the president and CEO of GE’s Offshore Wind business stated that the extensive experience across the U.K. offshore wind industry provided them with the opportunity to partner with a lot of different institutions, like ORE Catapult, that allowed them to check their technology while fostering competitiveness and partner with local supply chain players that wanted to innovate with them and be part of the U.K.’s offshore wind momentum.