World’s Biggest Offshore Wind Farm Delivers First Power to UK Grid
The world’s biggest offshore wind farm was expected to begin delivering power to the United Kingdom grid this week.
When it’s complete, the 174-turbine Hornsea One project will dwarf the next-largest installation anywhere.
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“The size of the project takes the burgeoning offshore wind power sector to a new scale, on a par with conventional fossil fuel-fired power stations,” The Guardian reports. Danish wind developer Ørsted “said it was ready to step up its plans and fill the gap left by failed nuclear power schemes.”
The 1.2-gigawatt, 407-square-kilometre wind farm will supply enough electricity to power about a million UK homes. “The ability to generate clean electricity offshore at this scale is a globally significant milestone at a time when urgent action needs to be taken to tackle climate change,” said Ørsted UK Managing Director Matthew Wright.
The seven-megawatt turbines to be used in the first two phases of the project are taller than The Gherkin, an iconic commercial building in London. Future generations will approach the height of The Shard, the tallest building in the EU.
“The latter stages of the Hornsea development could use even more powerful, 10-MW-plus turbines,” The Guardian states. “Bigger turbines will capture more of the energy from the wind and should lower costs by reducing the number of foundations and amount of cabling firms need to put into the water.”
Ørsted CEO Henrik Poulsen said the UK has a significant enough wind resource and shallow enough seabed to “power most of Europe if it went to the extreme with offshore.” And with companies like Hitachi and Toshiba scrapping plans for new nuclear plants, he said wind is ready to fill the low-carbon gap.
“If nuclear should play less of a role than expected, I believe offshore wind can step up,” Poulsen said. While nuclear plants have been “dramatically delayed and over budget”, he added, the wind industry is amassing a “strong track record for delivering offshore”.