World’s tallest wind turbine sets the standard

The sky-scraping Gaildorf turbines

Gaildorf, near Stuttgart in Germany, is now home of the world’s tallest wind turbine.

With a hub height of 178m and a total height of 264.5m, this wind turbine sets new standards and is part of a unique storage concept: the water battery.

This new storage concept utilises the foundation of the wind turbine as a water reservoir, which results in a 40m increase in the height of the turbine. This is hugely beneficial since each additional meter of hub height added to a wind turbine increases the annual energy yield by 0.5 to 1 per cent. Taller turbines mean stronger, more stable and more consistent wind speeds, which translates both to more energy produced and fewer gaps in generation.

Put simply, each turbine has a water tank built into its base, and in moments where the turbines generate more power than the area needs, water can be pumped from a nearby reservoir uphill into the tanks.

The sky-scraping turbine is part of a wind farm that consists of four wind turbines with hub heights from at least 155m. Equipped with powerful 3.4MW generators from GE, they will begin supplying clean energy to the German power grid in spring 2018. The combination with a modern pumped-storage power plant enables a more efficient production and storage of renewable energy than ever before.

The record-breaking turbine, part of a new installation in the town of Gaildorf, reaches an impressive 809 feet from the base to the tip of the blade. The other three turbines that are also part of this installation reach impressive heights as well, with the smallest standing over 500 feet tall. The four new turbines combined will produce enough electricity to power over 1000 homes.

Germany, more than almost any other country, has been embracing wind power as the future of energy. The country is third in the world – behind only China and the United States – in total wind power and new wind power added each year.