General Electric is investing $400 million over the next three to five years to develop and deploy a powerful offshore wind turbine that would be more than five times the size of the Arc de Triomphe in Paris.

The 12-MW direct drive generating Haliade-X, designed with a 220-meter-dia [722 ft] rotor, will produce 45% more energy than any other offshore turbine available today, GE announced March 1. Delivery is scheduled for 2021, the company says.

Jérôme Pécresse, president of GE Renewable Energy, said, “the industry forecasts it will install more than 90 gigawatts over the next 12 years” and GE is positioning itself to have a stake in those installations.

Featuring a 12-MW direct drive generator, the turbine is designed to have a leading gross capacity factor of 63%, five to seven points above the current benchmark for power-generating efficiency, GE notes.

Designed and manufactured by LM Wind Power, the 107-m-long blades will be the longest offshore blades to date. One Haliade-X turbine will rise 260 m [853 ft] over the sea and generate up to 67 GWh annually based on wind conditions on a typical German North Sea site.

Andreas Nauen, offshore chief executive officer at Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy, says the development of larger wind turbines shows how technology is driving down the levelized cost of energy, which measures lifetime costs divided by energy production.

Siemens' latest SG 8.0-167 direct drive turbine, with a 167-m-dia [548 ft] rotor, is expected to be available by 2020.