German Offshore Wind Farm Selects China’s Most Powerful 18MW Wind Turbines

wind turbine
Ming Yang would supply 16 of the 18.5 MW turbines for a German offshore wind farm (Ming Yang)

Published Jul 3, 2024 3:59 PM by The Maritime Executive


A new offshore wind farm planned for the German North Sea signed a preferred supplier agreement reserving the world’s largest wind turbines with a rating of 18.5 MW, which could make it the first to employ the massive equipment. News of the selection however has been met with resistance from the industry and today the German government said it plans to review the supply agreement.

Luxcara, an asset manager based in Germany, reported it signed an agreement with China’s Ming Yang Smart Energy as the preferred supplier for 16 wind turbines with a rated capacity of up to 18.5 MW. The plan calls for the turbines to be installed in 2028 at the Waterkant site. Luxcarta won the right to build the wind farm in the German government’s August 2023 auction. Waterkant would be located approximately 55 miles from Borkum in the North Sea.

They reported the wind turbines were selected from an international tender and after extensive due diligence. Ming Yang committed to using renewable energy in the manufacture of the turbines and that relevant electrical components for the turbines would be sourced from European suppliers.

“The Waterkant team thoroughly examined the turbine offers received in response to an international tender launched in late 2023,” the company wrote in its announcement. “Besides technological, financial, contractual and environmental aspects, the decision for Ming Yang was also based on an extensive due diligence exercise, covering the supply chain, ESG compliance aligned with the EU taxonomy and cyber security supported by independent experts from international advisors DNV and KPMG.”

The European wind industry lobby responded to the news criticizing the deal noting it gives China access to the German and EU infrastructure. They cited dangers of unfair competition building on an April 2024 announcement that the European Commission was planning to review the market for possible “distortions” from Chinese competition.

Germany’s economy minister told Reuters that they would look “very closely” at the supply agreement. He also cited the need for fair competition. He made the statements on the same day it was announced that Germany would block a deal to sell MAN’s gas turbine business to a subsidiary of China’s state shipbuilder. It is part of the growing anxiety over China’s aggressive competition and efforts to make inroads into the West.

Chinese wind turbine manufacturers are anxious to gain opportunities in the European market. Luxcara highlights by selecting the largest turbines available it is maximizing the production from the site and expediting Germany’s energy transition. They said it would help to create competition in the industry but that control would remain with an independent German company.

Ming Yang announced its plans for a turbine able to generate between 18 and 20 MW in 2023. They said it was evolving from the current platform for 14 to 16 MW with a lightweight design with an integrated drivetrain and employing large carbon-fiber blades with high-performance airfoils. They said it will be suited for medium to high wind regions and can sustain typhoons.

The turbines planned for Waterkant would have a rotor diameter of 260 meters (853 feet). The company says the site will be able to generate electricity for approximately 400,000 homes.

Two other Chinese manufacturers, CSSC Haizhuang and Dongfang, have also announced 18 MW turbines. Both companies installed prototypes earlier this year at their test sites. GE Verona had announced plans for a competing offering but recently shelved its efforts saying it would focus on the 15 MW turbines which will be the workhorse of the industry.