A behemoth V164 offshore wind turbine from Danish company MHI Vestas Offshore Wind has produced almost 216,000 kWh over a 24-hour period during tests at its site near Østerild, Denmark in December. In doing so, the 9 MW prototype – a reworked version of the V164-8.0 MW, which was initially developed in 2012 and launched two years later – takes the energy generation record for a commercially available offshore wind turbine.

Since its launch in 2014, the Usain Bolt of wind turbines is essentially in competition with itself, largely due to its superior size over the competition. The V164 stands at 722 feet (220 m) at full height, with 38-ton blades that are 263 feet (80 m) in length for a total sweep area of 227,377 square feet (21,124 square meters) – larger than the giant London Eye Ferris wheel.

The larger the size, the greater the efficiency tends to be, meaning a reduction in installation and maintenance costs per kilowatts produced, or more bang for the buck. The V164 is also built to withstand harsh North Sea conditions, while 80 percent of the turbine is able to be recycled at the end of its 25-year operational life. It's designed for optimal wind speeds of 12-25 meters/second (27-56 mph), with a minimum or cut-in wind speed of 4 m/s (9 mph).

"We are confident that the 9 MW machine has now proven that it is ready for the market and we believe that our wind turbine will play an integral part in enabling the offshore industry to continue to drive down the cost of energy," said Torben Hvid Larsen, company CTO. The energy generation record set on December 1 by the prototype now stands at 215,999.1 kWh produced over a 24-hour period.

Innovations such as the V164 have helped lower the levelized energy cost (the unit cost of electricity over a turbine's life) of offshore wind power, pushing it below £100 (US$125) per megawatt-hour in the UK, four years ahead of targets set by the government.