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German Company Builds World's Tallest Wind Turbine

Nov. 1, 2017
The turbine is also part of a unique power plant concept - the water battery

Max Bögl Wind AG has built the world’s tallest wind turbine in the town of Gaildorf near Stuttgart, Germany. Featuring a hub height of 178 meters and a total height of 246.5 meters, this wind turbine has set a new world record. The turbine is also part of a unique power plant concept - the water battery.

This height record was achieved in part due to the natural water reservoir built into the turbine. Power generation from renewable energy is combined with a modern pumped-storage power plant. This new storage concept uses the foundation of the wind turbine as a water reservoir, which results in a 40-meter increase in the height of the turbine. Each additional meter of hub height added to a wind turbine increases the annual energy yield by 0.5 to 1 percent. High hub heights mean less wind turbulence and significantly better wind yield, especially for inland locations with weak wind conditions.

The world’s tallest wind turbine is part of a wind farm that consists of four wind turbines with hub heights ranging from 155 to 178 meters. Equipped with powerful 3.4 MW generators from GE, they will begin supplying clean energy to the German power grid in spring 2018. “Our 3MW category platform is extremely flexible and optimized for high energy yield. We are very happy that our customized solution for the GE 3.4-137 has helped to achieve this record,” said Andreas von Bobart, general manager of GE Renewable Energy Onshore Wind Deutschland. It is estimated that more than 10 GWh will be generated per year, which is enough electricity to power 2,500 four-person households. Max Bögl Wind AG is thus playing its part in making sure the energy transition succeeds. After all, the stated goal of the German federal government is to increase the share of renewable energy sources for power generation to 50 percent. It currently lies at 38 percent.

“Without large-scale and forward-looking projects and ideas, the energy transition in Germany cannot succeed. With the water battery and hybrid towers, we are making wind energy a more attractive and efficient source of clean energy while also setting new records,” said Josef Knitl, board member at Max Bögl Wind AG.

The foundations of the wind turbine towers in Gaildorf are water reservoirs with a storage capacity of 70 MWh. A penstock connects them with a hydroelectric power station and its lower reservoir located 200 meters deeper into the valley. The water battery, which was also referred to as natural power storage in the Gaildorf pilot project, can store surplus power from the grid and release it when necessary. It acts as a short-term storage facility and helps to maintain grid stability while guaranteeing a continuous, uninterrupted supply of power. The pumped-storage plant is able to switch between production and storage within 30 seconds.

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