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Powering a giant in the Irish Sea

ABB specialty transformers at work in the world’s most powerful wind turbines

The UK generates more offshore wind electricity than any other country, contributing to its target of achieving 15 percent of total energy production from renewable sources by 2020, and reducing carbon dioxide emissions.

In 2014, ABB was selected to supply special transformers for the Burbo Bank Extension offshore wind farm installation, owned by the Danish offshore developer, DONG Energy. The Burbo Bank Extension on the west coast of the UK is the first commercial installation of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) Vestas V164 wind turbines, each with capacity to generate up to eight megawatts of power, making them the most powerful offshore wind generators in the world. The entire installation consists of 32 turbines, for a total generation capacity of up to 258 MW. 

Each of these 8-MW giants is equipped with ABB specialty transformers, the fruit of a multi-year product design effort between ABB and Vestas as the V164 turbine was developed. The transformers incorporate design features specially developed for wind applications, such as a high-temperature hybrid insulation system that is water cooled to make the unit as compact as possible. It is vibration and short-circuit resistant, and has a compact footprint in order to accommodate the turbine door frame.

The first ABB transformers to be commercially produced for a wind turbine of this size rolled off the assembly line in June 2015 while deliveries ended in the summer of 2016. ABB is also supplying a high-voltage cable system for the project, which is scheduled to be commissioned in 2017.

Burbo Bank Extension offshore windfarm officially opened at a ceremony in Liverpool in May 2017. The complete installation will generate enough electricity for over 230,000 homes.

Main data

Customer MHI Vestas Offshore Wind (MVOW)
Product Special transformers
Application Offshore wind farm
Power rating 10.8 MVA, 34 kV
Location Liverpool Bay, UK
Delivery date
2015-2016
Commissioning date April 2017