The Switch 5 MW Drive Train Operating in Chinese Offshore Wind Project

The Switch 5 MW Drive Train Operating in Chinese Offshore Wind Project

The Switch, a Finland-based supplier of permanent magnet generator (PMG) and full-power converter (FPC) packages, announced today that its first 5 MW high-speed drive trains installed in the field in China for CSIC (Chongqing) Haizhuang Windpower Equipment Co., Ltd (HZ Windpower), a Chinese wind power equipment manufacturer, are now successfully operating. The turbines operate continuously at 5 MW, the highest power rate so far for The Switch.

The new Haizhuang PMG5000 generators and FPC5000 converters have been designed especially for Haizhuang by integrating the latest technology and the 6 GW real-life wind power field experience of The Switch. The optimized drive trains, known as The Switch Drive™, represent the highest power range that The Switch has commissioned to date. During testing phase, the generators and converters fulfilled all performance requirements.

The Switch PMGs and FPCs have been appropriately adopted to operate reliably in the harsh offshore environment for which they were specifically developed. The converter is installed inside the tower’s base floor, which is about 12 meters above sea level; the generator is installed in the nacelle.

Compared with a traditional double-fed induction generator (DFIG) drive train, The Switch PMG technology offers a higher annual energy production (AEP) rate and lower operations and maintenance costs. This makes it a more ideal solution for offshore use, where maintenance costs are much higher than with onshore applications.

Moreover, The Switch FPCs comply with all the latest international grid code requirements, even the latest Chinese regulations. They ensure low flicker, minimum electrical noise emission and a THD of <1.5%, guaranteeing that high electricity quality is fed into the grid.

In total, two The Switch Drive™ prototypes are now both installed in turbines situated in tidelands, which proved to be quite challenging due to the fluctuating tides. At high tide, the site was covered with water, making the installation exactly like an offshore site. Installation teams could then only move to the turbine by boat. When the tide was low, the teams used small tractor-like vehicles to access the site. When the water was not high enough for a boat or low enough for the vehicles, the teams simply had to wait. Tide levels at the site reach peaks twice per day; the highest peak tide level happens only once a month.

According to Mr. Tao Youchuan, Vice President of Haizhuang Windpower, the company already has two customers who are interested in this turbine for offshore use. The Switch is planning for zero-series production this year.

 “The Switch Drive™ and PMG technology represent an obvious choice for reliable super-power offshore turbines, as they offer higher energy output, even at partial loads,” says The Switch CEO and President Jukka-Pekka Mäkinen. “In the January 2013 issue of Wind Power Monthly magazine, this product was ranked among the top ten products in the category of 3.6 MW+ turbines. We’re really pleased to receive international recognition for this achievement.”

 Mr. Tao confirms: “We have been very satisfied with the encouraging outcome. The initial results indicate that The Switch Drive™ will perform well in all kinds of harsh environments. We look forward to taking advantage of The Switch’s extensive experience in PMG for our offshore installations in the future.”

 “Our aim is to become one of the top three wind power equipment manufacturers in China by 2015. With such a successful outcome from the first 5 MW deliveries, cooperation with The Switch has helped us take concrete steps towards reaching this goal. We look forward to long-term cooperation with The Switch as we move into ever more challenging wind turbine areas,” he continues.


Press release, March 04, 2013; Image: switch