The Netherlands is a country famous for its windmills, but it's never had one like this.
GE is outside the city of Rotterdam. The new turbine will stand 850 feet high from the base of the turbine to the top of the blade and it will produce 12 megawatts of power, enough to keep the lights on in more than 15,000 homes.
This turbine is a prototype of a series the company hopes to start building all over the world, called the Haliade-X. Technically, the Haliade-X is supposed to be an offshore turbine, but GE is building the prototype on land for testing purposes. Once constructed, engineers will spend the next five years monitoring the prototype and making adjustments to the design as needed.
Part of the reason this turbine needs so much testing is because the blades are so large. Each blade is more than 350 feet long, longer than a football field. These blades are so huge that they can’t be transported from GE’s factory in North America. Instead, the company had to build a brand-new factory in France just to construct them.
Construction of the turbine will begin sometime this year, and GE hopes to be able to secure a type certificate to allow it to sell the turbine commercially by 2021. If it is successful, these giant turbines will soon be all over the North Sea, bringing clean electricity to tens of thousands of homes.