New Record: World’s Largest Wind Turbine (7+ Megawatts)

The world’s largest wind turbine is now the Enercon E-126. This turbine has a rotor diameter of 126 meters (413 feet). The E-126 is a more sophisticated version of the E-112, formerly the world’s largest wind turbine and rated at 6 megawatts. This new turbine is officially rated at 6 megawatts too, but will most likely produce 7+ megawatts (or 20 million kilowatt hours per year). That’s enough to power about 5,000 households of four in Europe. A quick US calculation would be 938 kwh per home per month, 12 months, that’s 11,256 kwh per year per house. That’s 1776 American homes on one wind turbine.

The turbine being installed in Emden, Germany by Enercon. They will be testing several types of storage systems in combination with the multi-megawatt wind turbines.



These turbines are equipped with a number of new features: an optimized blade design with a spoiler extending down to the hub, and a pre-cast concrete base. Due to the elevated hub height and the new blade profile, the performance of the E-126 is expected to by far surpass that of the E-112.


WiredForStereo of The Way explains the operation of these new turbines:

[The E-126]… has no gearbox attaching the turbine blades to the generator, in fact, the generator is housed just at the widest part of the nose cone, it takes up the entire width of the nacelle to generate power more efficiently, and provide longer service life with less wear.

Also like small turbines, these have inverters instead of synchronous generators, that is to say, a separate controller that converts the wild AC generated into something the grid can use. This means the rotor can run at more optimum and varied speeds.

Again like small turbines, this one does not shut right off at a predetermined speed due to gusts or just very high wind speeds. It simply throttles down by turning the blades slightly away from the wind so as to continue to generate power though at a lower production rate. Then the instant the wind is more favorable, it starts back up again. Many smaller wind turbines do something similar except have no blade pitch control, they use a technique called something like “side furling” where the whole machine, excepting the tail, turns “sideways” to catch less wind but continue operating.

Money, why else? Big things are cheaper per unit production. If you have 3 2 MW generators, you have to have three (at least) cranes to put them up, build three foundations, have to maintain three machines, and have three times the parts to fail. If you have one, it is larger and more expensive in itself to move, but not as expensive as having to move three smaller ones.

I don’t understand how people can be so concerned about birds becoming mush with modern wind turbines, especially ones this big. It only turns at 12 rpms. That means it takes five seconds to complete one revolution. That is slow but this is much bigger and easy to see compared to the whirring blades of old. The Altamont Pass turbines gave wind turbines such a bad name because they were built in the middle of the natural habitat of rare birds, the turbines were the small fast spinning type, and they were built using lattice towers, the kind birds love to nest in. These are slowly being replaced and all of the new ones are of the slower rotating kind. In the end, it comes down to this. Stationary buildings and moving cars kill literally millions of times more birds than wind turbines. And things like the Exxon Valdez spill kill millions of everything. So let’s go with the best option.


A graph of the World’s Largest Wind Turbines.

469 thoughts on “New Record: World’s Largest Wind Turbine (7+ Megawatts)”

  1. I agree with Shylock, building large scale wind farms does not contribute to a greener future in energy production, we should reuse the land we already utilize for our cities. The amount of land already consumed by urban sprawl would be enough land for small wind turbines and solar arrays in backyards, empty lots, tops/ sides of buildings, not to mention all the empty land under power line corridors.

  2. The only way centralised power generation systems like these are financially viable is through subsidy, now I’m not saying subsidies are bad, I’m saying that for the subsidy given to install that wind giant, Americans could install home energy generation power systems, a localised empowering alternative, this is a subsidy worth investing in as it doesn’t require people to work as much, by getting into their cars to drive to the office using gas, diesel and other carbon emitting tools, they essentially nullify all benefits that this type of renewable energy has to offer, as they still require the money to pay for the energy and that means people still have to travel to work to earn a crust, small home based energy systems are the natural way for people to generate and use energy, it’s in harmony with their local environment. No monstrous gigantic power cables and no large hideously dangerous substations. Approximately a half of all energy generated by centralised eletricity power stations is used to distribute that energy on the GRID, therfore centralised electric energy generation systems require double the resources they need to sustain them, which means the energy charged to customers is double what it needs to be, which means they require at least twice the amount of time to recover the carbon they have emitted into the atmosphere, hmmmm….and they say these are supposed to be environmentally friendly, not as environmentally friendly as small localised energy genrating systems, that empower people and their communitites to become independent of the centralised industrial production system.

  3. Forums are great for discussions. A lot of different viewpoints are expressed which hopefully cause us to look at issues from different angles.

    However, it never ceases to amaze me how many people are incapable of discussing ISSUES without bashing PEOPLE. Why do people from one country have to bash the people in another country? How many of those criticizing the other country have actually lived there? I’m an American born in Florida to American parents but lived in Germany for 29 years of my adult life and since 2002 am back in Florida. As a whole Germans have a much greener attitude than Americans as a whole. It is practiced voluntarily in their daily lives in many ways – conservation, recycling, health. They definitely have a greener mindset.

    This is not something that couldn’t happen in the US as well. In Germany it is the result of repeated promotion of a green mentality by the government and the media. Forums like this could contribute greatly to a changed way of thinking if everyone contributing would be respectful and mature regarding other viewpoints.

  4. BTW.. one ton of CO2 is created for every ton of cement, now this wind monster is going to require at least 800 cubic tons of cement and reinforced steel to anchor. How many european dump trucks running on diesel is that for one wind farm ? how many dead birds and bats. Actually I don’t care..but 30% efficiency is just counterproductive, this monster is not going to shut down any existing power plants, wind energy cannot be stored as hydro or nuclear, it a use it or lose it proposition. Anyone know what the efficient wind speed to power ratio of this thing is? Cause it only works at peak efficiency ( let’s be generous and say 35%) when the wind is moving at precisely that speed. Wind to slow efficiency drops, wind to high efficiency drops, I”m not going to even touch the air density questions. Hey here’s another question how much petroleum based oil ( not the environmentally friendly type made of magic dust ok) do you think is in the generators of this wind sucker?.. at least 2000 gal in the multiply time how many turbines and lets remember, like a car we need to change the oil ok or else, the big wind machine loses efficiency then grinds to a halt, or blows up in a really spectacular manner. Oh we have to change the multiple filters and seals as well, maintenance costs!!! oh clean the rotors of dead bugs, and sand and grit and( salt ..if your offshore) . or else ..we lose efficiency. And don’t forget to change the really beautiful blinking light on top. Damn it wait, we got to cut down 5 acres of forest for every turbine installed in a wooded area.. and we all know that trees give up their stored CO2 when dead right? It’s not like the trees convert it to something and no don’t say O2 please…chemistry chemistry. Cut trees, build a huge heat retaining base, I’m sure the erosion and heat retention is minimal.. no problem here. Argg we need to build more roda to get to the bases, hey how about a few more gas stations along the way so the manitenace trucks can fuel up, and restaurant so the workers can eat, and a hotel and and and …. how many jobs created for a wind turbine? And once built, where do the workers go, cause sure as hell they are not local are they?

  5. I personally wouldn’t find it an eyesore to see one or more of these gargantuan machines perched on a hilltop or in an open field. There’s a large (but much smaller) wind turbine in downtown Toronto, right by the lake, that was funded in part by members of the Toronto Renewable Energy Co-op ( and in part by Toronto Hydro, which agreed to buy a portion of its power to sell to its customers as green electricity.

    The turbine in Toronto is definitely not an eyesore. It is a symbol of hope for the future. Everyone I’ve talked to loves looking at it, whether from afar, or from right at its giant base. One of the great things about these mega wind turbines is that you can see them from even farther away!

  6. I guess the world will always be plagued by dinosaurs and nimbys and no matter what you try someone somewhere will object so I guess the saner amongst us will just have to put up with it. Personally, I have an open mind. I think large wind turbines are elegant and certainly much better than a power station belching out clouds of pollution. As for the cost, I think you may well find that if all the costs of power generation are taken into account including the cost to the environment, wind power might come out very well. Rather than global warming, which will happen anyway, we should be more concerned about diminishing resources. The coal and oil won’t last forever – wind will.

  7. I am interested in setting up a wind power system. Please help me as to what best suits me.
    my house is wired with a 100amp breaker.
    what information would you need to assist me

  8. Message to Eelectron,

    Please note electron has only one ‘e ‘ in it, unless you are a poet and claim poetic licence . if not, then please learn to spell correctly.
    I have probably read more science books than you will in your life-time. Please take off your blinkers. Have you so soon forgotten the Chernobyl Catastrophy not that many years ago and the terrible aftermath, children still dying from atomic filth, soil still poisoned with atomic radiation. All or Chernobyl’s residents had to be moved a long way from Chernobyl as far too dangerous levels of radiation are still there to safely allow humans to live there for many life-times to come.
    When the wind stops blowing there is still tidal power, see tidal generators in Scotland and other places on Earth with tidal energy.

    Mr Eelectron, please GET A LIFE and read more Science Books to get a balanced education, which you sadly seem to lack at present. As you so love stinking coal, you probably have shares in it and atomic power as well. There is no such thing as CLEAN COAL, it is black when it comes out of the ground and black as its stinking small sooty particles sweep into the air and your poor soon to be tortured lungs. I know what I am talking about as I lived in London for many years from 1939 up to 1948 and we lived through some terrible smogs. Actually a number of people died from the SMOG in London. No matter how well you try to clean up the smoke particulates with electrostatic rods and steam cleaning techniques as was done at Battersea Power Station in London back in the 1960’s you cannot keep every smoke particulate from getting into the atmosphere or the carbon- dioxide gas. Now I suggest that you stick that in your pipe and smoke it !


    Richard Leschen.

  9. you guys just have to realize this is a breakthrough in alternative energy.this is a way to a new and enviromentally powered earth btw theres a larger turbine about 10 feet taller then yours .your FACE!!ive seen it in real life search biggest turbine on google!!!

  10. In the UK we have 60,000 tonnes of nuclear waste with no plan of how to deal with it. It’s difficult to visualise, so imagine a pile of 15,000 elephants. That’s around a quarter of the world’s Asian elephant population.

    Iodine-129, a by-product of nuclear fission, has a half-life of 16 million years but is still dangerous after 160 million years. Or to put it another way, if the dinosaurs of the Cretaceous period had had nuclear power, we’d still be looking after their waste.

    wind turbines are a beautiful addition to a landscape and for people with some perception of the future, a symbol of hope.

  11. Something this big requires a steady wind. In Denmark, they built a 2 MW wind turbine and quickly discovered it was too big. Because of the gyroscopic effects, it could not change direction fast enough to follow changing wind directions, and would have to just shut down in gusty conditions. They found that 1-1.5MW was just about the optimum size to take advantage of the wind they had. Obviously, Germany must have steadier wind.

  12. It is amazing to see the number of people who are against clean, renewable energy. There will always be people who are against anything and everything. If we expect our society to survive we will have to develop clean non fossil fuel energy. Or we will go the way of the Dodo. Wind energy is simply the only practical available clean large scale renewable energy we can turn to right now. Anyone who thinks burning coal or oil is a smart long term solution is simply sticking their heads in the sand. Nuclear works but toxic waste will always be a problem. When the first nuke blows up, that industry will die overnight. The global warming time bomb is ticking and we are having these silly debates. In the near future, the problem will be irreversible and we will all pay the price. In the last hundred years we have gone full circle on energy and now we are addicted to it. Without it the world as we know it ceases to exist. All the people who don’t want to see wind power should sign an agreement that they will never be allowed to use any in the future. Let’s hope smarter minds prevail in this battle for our survival. Hats off to the Germans for doing it. All the old nonsense arguments about the evils of wind power are falling on deaf ears and have been shown to be not true. When will the die hard wind haters simply knock it off.

  13. I too think that people should seriously consider not getting pregnant to have children or at the very least just have 2 children, but no more. One child per family would be optimal and would shrink the population within 20 or so years if that plan were carried on for 20+ years duration. Unplanned children happen, but don’t plan to have more than 1-2 of them.

    I laugh when I see people post about wind generators slowing down the orbit of the earth around the sun–goofy reasoning, but funny.

    I often wonder why wind generator shapes mostly use the big prop type designs. There are other designs to be used to that wouldn’t give that strobe light show against the sunlight. There’s got to be other designs that are better and smaller. Bigger isn’t necessarily always better.

  14. The megawatt andpower consumption numbers people are having problems with come to the following: I did the calculations using kwh production per year not peak instantaneous production. Simply take the per year consumption per US home, and that’s where the numbers come from.

    All turbines have maximum efficiency based upon tip speed. 300+ mph is beyond the range that things explode. Smaller turbines are constrained by the same tip speed efficiencies, that is why they rotate faster but still have the same tip speed.

  15. Pay attention, soulless androids and Trekkies who keep applauding wind turbines. I am stating a view that’s not in the minority.

    These monster machines pose serious concerns for those who aren’t aesthetically-challenged. Part of the whole quality of life is simply looking at a natural horizon without 400+ foot spinning distractions. It’s not just a NIMBY issue when planned on a massive scale, if you have aesthetic values beyond those of a robot. People who want half the planet to look man-made are sick, in my opinion.

    Limited wind power in areas that are already “ugly” is OK, but people who actually live around them are rarely happy with the noise, sunlight strobe effect and red lights at night.

    I think we should put at least equivalent effort into halting population growth (now 77 million annually) so demand for energy doesn’t keep rising. We expect every other species to live withing its means, but people have been exponential takers. Costly oil is finally slowing that down, but now they want the same gluttony transposed to “clean” energy.

    True conservation should be about personal restraint, not meeting endless greedy needs. Growthism is the underlying issue in energy policy but it’s not being addressed directly. There is a still a general failure to admit that the planet is finite.

  16. The cost of building and connecting a windturbine the grid is measured in EUR/kW (or $/kW)
    With the more current models the cost is 1400 EUR/kW
    So a turbine with a genarator of 3 MW costs about 4.2 Million EUR, deliverd, build and connected to the grid

  17. I and my family own several thousand acres in west texas.we are looking for capital investors to develop a wind farm is located in crez (competitive renewable energy zone) 9…send me an e-mail if serious.

  18. Dear Sir /Madam
    I am really proud of your technology and I congratulate you .
    Can anyone tell me the coast of installing up to the grid these mega turbines not necessary ENERCON E 112
    instead even little smaller like VESTAS V90-30 to produce 60 megawatts.

  19. Dear sir/medam

    i have the experience in windmill since last three years and in electric field the experience is last 26 i wish to take electric contract in your company so kindly request you to addmit me as a part of your company as a contractor. i willing the responce from your side.if you wish to devlope me as your vendor then send me the registration form of your company for my addmition as a contractor.
    if you have any querry then free feel to mail me.

    thanking you,

  20. After 50 years of wise land use planning which protected fragile mountain ecosystems, and recognized the importance of natural beauty to the human psyche, the US has been duped by the wind industry into deciding, for present and future generations, that the mountain tops are now industrial zones.

    The cumulative effect of the billions of dollars being directed into wind farms will be a massive degradation of the natural environment. If these monstrous contraptions are allowed to pollute every horizon, what possible objections could we have to any other type of development? Hey, lets put some gambling casinos up there on the ridges, there are great roads, the power lines are run and the views are fantastic!

    It would be one thing if windpower was a real solution, if redundant power plants did not have be constantly on line to make electricity during the 75% of the time that the wind is not blowing.

    Electricity is produced by coal and natural gas, not oil, so wind power does not reduce our reliance on foreign oil. Insulating our homes and using hybrid cars, or better riding bicycles would do that, and if the billions spent on wind farms was used to help conserve energy, and develop dependable renewable energy like geothermal, biomass, small scale solar pv and water heating, we would save the landscape, solve the problem, and prevent the huge outflow of dollars to foreign countries that wind farms, which are mostly owned by foreign entities, represent.

    The wind industry is nothing more than a modern day gold rush, and the pay dirt is 200% 5 year depreciation, 2 cents/kw direct tax credits, property tax abatement, green credits, etc. It is an investors dream. It has been a nightmare for the community fabric of every town that has been conned into accepting it.

  21. Richard Leschen – read some science books!!!
    The coal/smog you see in China are from very crude plants. Coal is now nearly 50% efficient – totally different from the plants now in operation. Emissions are falling quickly.

    What are you going to do when the wind stops??? Sit in the dark with your HUYA.

    The idiots in Wasington and Hollywood and obviously – you don’t know anything about Nuclear power. Only low level wastes are buried, the rest is reprocessed – assuming our Congressional “Experts” ever get a clue. Look at FRANCE!!!!!!

  22. IMHO people should stop demonizing atomic power its cheap and cleaner then coal (yes long term storage needed for the waste) there is room for multiple solutions and in fact the world will need them all soon enough. Because there are times when the wind does not blow and the sun does not shine. Options are good to have…

  23. Readers please note….. All atomic Power Stations need Coal-Fired Power Stations to make the electricity to manufacture the atomic energy to build the atomic piles to run these Godforsaken energy plants. The sooner the whole World goes Solar, Tidal Power ,Wind Power,Wave Power the better. China is already choking to death by Australia selling them there Dopey Coal to further pollute our Planets already fast chocking LUNGS.

    Richard Leschen

  24. Ugly American -Really!!! You think T-Boone would get into this business if it wasn’t heavily subsidized by our government. Left alone, wind would fail miserably.

    Don’t forget, for every wind plant there must be a base plant (nuclear,coal,etc.) Which make it very expensive. Additionally, only about 25% of the unit maximum capacity is realized on average as energy is proportional to velocity squared. Without the base plants (choose coal or nuclear) blackouts are a fact, potentially long ones!!

  25. Irregular said “I can already hear the screams of the Rotary group complaining about noise pollution…”

    What has irregular got against Rotary? Most Rotarians are business people and so support technology that improves things. I am a member of Rotary and think every town should have at least one turbine. Far from being unsightly I think they are heartwarming and certainly no more unsightly that the pylons that march across the landscape.

  26. in response to dip’s comment, i believe at least a small amount of that difference is in the climate, alot of germany is cooler in climate than the US. places like LA california and the massive surrounding metro get extremely hot (often above 100f in summer) and thus are “cranking up the a/c” i doubt that it accounts for the entire difference but part of it anyway. i admit, americans are probably a little more power hungry than germans. although recent government codes have changed requiring appliances like washer dryer and A/C must use a set minimum amount of energy per year in order to be sold.

  27. Does anyone know what rpm (input/output) the gearboxes run at for 2,3 or 4 MW systems? I realize this system is a direct drive (at 12 rpm -that’s got to be one big generator)?

    I know of a very interesting new generator technology that just scaled up by a factor of 17,000% (to 10,000 lb-ft or 13k NM). It’s about 1/3 the weight of conventional generators and may hep out in these applications. Interestingly, big oil is who is advancing it right now.

  28. DIP – It’s called AIR CONDITIONING…Having lived in Germany for 2 years, there is a pretty HUGE difference in the amount of energy required in a German home vs. an American home during the summer!

    We’re hardly “doing something wrong”.

  29. for people who can’t figure out how long the blades are, use logic. is it logical that the blades could sustain 20 plus years of 356 mph rotation? honestly.

  30. willie c wuddle

    I bet the rich get them first. They will have us everyday Joe’s working to pay for the generators then run their hummer size electric vehicles and boats at our expense causing the price of the remainder of the electricity to skyrocket.

  31. concerned citizen

    The first true plug-in hybrid cars should be reserved for Texas farmers and ranchers, those staunch backbone of the land people. They could recharge them with smaller windmill driven generators.

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