Wind turbines are known for having three blades, a design which has been an industry standard for the past 25 years. Now it appears that some companies are considering reducing the number of blades down to two in an attempt to cut costs.
The two bladed turbines will typically be used for offshore installations and the pros of this design include cheaper costs and easier installation. Two-bladed wind turbines are easier to install as the rotors can be preinstalled onshore, and they cost less because they use fewer materials (one less blade’s worth to be exact). Cons? The blades spin faster which makes them louder and the flexibility of the blades can cause them to hit the tower in particularly strong wind conditions.
Investors are taking some convincing, however the Crown Estate has taken a calculated risk and entered a lease deal with Forthwind Limited for the UK’s first offshore demonstration of two-bladed turbines on the seabed at Methil in Scotland. Huub den Rooijen, Head of Offshore Wind at The Crown Estate, has said that these gambles are necessary in order to encourage engineering innovation and ultimately reduce the costs of renewable energy technology. The interest shown by the Crown Estate will surely provide confidence and encourage future investment, helping this new design realise its full potential.