Hitachi 5MW set for offshore debut

Hitachi will start installing its first 5MW offshore turbine off the coast of eastern Japan by the end of March.

The company tells Recharge that it will also begin testing a new version of its 2MW turbine for low-wind sites in early 2014 near the Sea of Japan coast in Tainai, Niigata prefecture.

Demonstration tests for the 5MW downwind machine will start near Kamisu, Ibaraki prefecture, in May or June 2014.

It will begin selling the HTW5.0-126 model — featuring a permanent-magnet generator (PMG), medium-speed gearbox and 126-metre-diameter blade span — in its home market in fiscal 2015.

Overseas, it will initially sell the 5MW turbine in Taiwan and several undisclosed Southeast Asian markets. “After Asia, we’ll maybe start looking at the European market,” Toshiyuki Takada, manager of Hitachi’s wind turbine department, tells Recharge.

The Ibaraki-based industrial group started developing the 5MW turbine in July 2012. Takada says the company will eventually develop the fixed-foundation machine for floating applications.

Hitachi’s 2MW downwind turbine is currently being tested at two government-led floating demonstration projects in Fukushima and Nagasaki prefectures.

Its 5MW downwind machine is designed to withstand the strong typhoons that frequently lash coastal regions throughout Asia.

“Climate conditions (throughout the region) are similar to Japan, and it will be easier to support our customers in Asia, ” explains Takada, claiming that Hitachi’s expertise in key turbine components such as generators will give the 5MW model an important edge over rival machines.

“Reliability is critical overseas, so I think customers will accept our concept.”