Vestas' giant turbine picked for Germany's first subsidy-free offshore wind farm

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COPENHAGEN, July 9 (Reuters) - Vestas (VWS.CO) said on Friday that EnBW (EBKG.DE) had picked its new turbine, which will be the world's biggest, as the preferred option for the 900 MW He Dreiht project in the German North Sea, which will be operated without subsidies.

Colossal turbines, which will dwarf many skyscrapers, are key for the offshore wind industry to remain profitable after countries phase out subsidies that have defined the green industry since the 1990s.

"In a time where the whole world is talking about how we address the energy transition, this is one of the important answers: that you can have a levelised cost of energy that is below gas, oil, nuclear," Vestas' chief executive told Reuters, referring to the cost of an installation over its lifetime divided by the power it produces.

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Big wind turbines are more efficient, meaning fewer units and lower costs.

Vestas' 15 MW turbine will be the world's largest when it comes into use in 2024. With a wingspan of more than 230 metres, the turbine will sweep an area of 43,742 square metres - roughly the size of six soccer pitches - and have capacity to power 20,000 households.

The Danish company is now looking to deploy the giant turbine outside the mature European offshore wind market as governments in both the U.S. and Asian countries have set ambitious offshore wind targets.

"We see it as a global business. For us there will be more customer discussions as we speak in Europe, the U.S. and not least the Asia-Pacific," Andersen said, pointing to markets like Taiwan and Japan where the Danish company already has a presence.

"Some would also have noticed that I've spent nearly a week in Korea not many weeks ago," he added.

Traditionally a maker of onshore turbines, Vestas plans to expand in the rapidly growing offshore wind industry after taking full ownership of a joint venture with Mitsubishi Heavy Industries.

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Reporting by Stine Jacobsen; Editing by Kirsten Donovan

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