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A Wind Turbine Blade Bigger Than Big Ben Will Be Battered In Boston

The Haliade-X 12MW offshore wind turbine blade protruding out of the Wind Technology Testing Center in Boston. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)
The Haliade-X 12MW offshore wind turbine blade protruding out of the Wind Technology Testing Center in Boston. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)

The world's largest wind turbine blade is taller than Big Ben and the Statue of Liberty. And on Tuesday it was unveiled in Boston in all its big, bendy glory.

The 351-foot-long blade was fabricated by General Electric in France and shipped to the Wind Technology Testing Center in Charlestown, the only facility in the United States capable of testing it. Over six months, the blade will be bent, wiggled and twisted millions of times in a series of fatigue tests, to ensure that it can withstand more than 25 years of operation at sea.

Steve Pike, head of the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center, said GE's gigantic blade is bigger than the center's massive test facility.

"We do need to take a little bit off the tip to fit it inside the building," he said.

The blades will turn GE's new Haliade-X offshore wind turbines, each of which can power 5,000 homes, said John Lavelle, CEO of GE Renewable Energy's Offshore Wind Business.

A hundred GE generators have been ordered for projects off the shores of New Jersey and Maryland, according to Lavelle. GE Chairman and CEO H. Lawrence Culp Jr. said they'll be built in Europe, at least for now.

"As the U.S. offshore wind industry moves forward we'll obviously re-evaluate our footprint," Culp said.

Massachusetts Clean Energy Center and GE unveil the Haliade-X 12MW offshore wind turbine blade. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)
Massachusetts Clean Energy Center and GE unveil the Haliade-X 12MW offshore wind turbine blade. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)

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