The world’s largest offshore wind farm opened yesterday off the coast of Cumbria, UK, and covers an area of 145km2.
The Walney Extension project overtakes the London Array to become the world’s largest offshore wind farm currently in operation, covering an area of 145km2 with 87 turbines; in total, this represents a capacity of 659mW, which could generate enough clean, renewable energy to power almost 600,000 homes in the UK.
Walney Extension is half owned by energy company Ørsted, with the other half owned by the company’s partners. Now in operation, the project brings Ørsted’s total capacity to 1.5gW across the UK, which is enough to power more than 1.2 million homes. The company’s energy generation operations are also supporting more than 250 jobs in the UK’S north west region.
What are the technical specifications of the new wind farm?
The offshore wind farm is located in the Irish Sea, around 19km from the Walney Island coast in Cumbria. It includes 40 MHI Vestas 8mW wind turbines, and 47 Siemens Gamesa 7mW turbines, equipped with blades manufactured in Hull and the Isle of Wight, UK. The project also involved the participation of more than 50 local suppliers from across the country.
Matthew Wright, managing director at Ørsted UK, called the Walney Extension an “incredible success story” for the industry, as well as for the company’s ambition to pioneer renewable energy use throughout the UK. He said: “The project, completed on time and within budget, also marks another important step towards Ørsted’s vision of a world that runs entirely on green energy.”
The UK’s Energy and Clean Growth Minister, Claire Perry, added: “Record-breaking engineering landmarks like this huge offshore windfarm help us consolidate our global leadership position, break records for generating renewable energy, and create thousands of high quality jobs.” The government, she continued, has “set out a further £557 million of funding for new renewable projects, helping to tackle climate change and deliver clean growth to local economies.”