Is MingYang a Credible Challenger to the Big 3…. 

Demonstrating beautifully the economics of scale with a 242m rotor diameter, that’s a blade length of 118m, the MySE 16.0-242 boasts a 16MW power output making it the biggest and most powerful turbine on the market. This platform will no doubt be hugely successful in the Asian market, but the real question is does this make MingYang’s offering a credible challenger to the domination of the big 3, Vestas, Siemens Gamesa and GE Renewable Energy, within the European and global market?

Amalgamating a gearbox and a direct drive solution, to provide a medium-speed planetary gearbox with load sharing and forced high-precision main bearing lubrication, MingYang have opened the box for alternative drive train configurations, ultimately aiming to simplify the gearbox and to enable a more compact generator (something which direct drive machines may struggle with for larger turbines); its nacelle said to be about 592 tonnes is comparable to the Vestas V236-15.0MW design. Similarly, to Vestas designs the MySE 16.0-242 utilises the extra nacelle space to host all the electrical equipment such as the transformer and converter instead of in the tower. This is a key design modification that will ease the logistics of delivering offshore wind turbines to market by reducing the requirement for pre-assembly of tower sections.

The hot topic on turbines is the ability to withstand typhoons, which ultimately will allow turbines to go up in more extreme weather prone areas around the world. Chinese designs are generally designed with this in mind, due to their coast lines being dominated by typhoon weather events. The MySE 16-242 is no exception, having been classified as an IEC T (Vref of 57.5m/s) rated and certified by both the DNV and china general certification centre (CGC) for its design and is scheduled for full prototype in 2022. In terms of the big 3 players, Vestas do state that their offshore platforms are IEC T rated, dependant as always on the site specifics. Siemens Gamesa offshore offerings do not explicitly state that they are IEC T rated but state instead IEC S which is site specific and likely to incorporate some of their designs to be typhoon ready, such as their 8MW-167m DD offshore WTG which has been stated to be tailored for the Asian market. GE has received its Typhoon certification from DNV Haliade X machine earlier this year.

With MingYang now having established its business and engineering centre in Hamburg, Germany and exploring the development of overseas manufacturing facilities, the MySE 16.0-242 will be competing with the big 3 for offshore sales. The quicker MingYang can get this turbine up and running the better, turbines that do well in the market place are those with a track record and product reliability, in addition a willingness to discuss supply chain options locally. It was only earlier this year that MingYang announced installation of its first 8MW unit at Xinghua Bay II offshore wind farm, so clearly their development has moved on at speed to catch-up with their European counterparts, but operational track-record may still be lagging behind. However, with the everlasting pressure to reduce cost and the race to meet net zero targets will developers see this as a risk worth taking?

The MySE 16.0-242 turbine Is certainly setting a new bench mark for offshore wind turbine generator technology, but careful analysis of the full project lifecycle is critical to understanding the benefits and potential risk profile of selection of this technology. Equally with a technology race in full swing already following the sequential announcements from GE, SGRE and Vestas it can be expected that it won’t be long before we see a response. The announcement of this platform by MingYang can however only be a good thing for the industry to have another serious player in the market and we will watch with interest to see where this exciting platform will make its debut.