Claimed by its developers to be the largest such offshore site in the world, the UK’s Walney wind farm became operational on 9 February 2012.
Generating 367MW, the Walney wind farm will supply renewable energy to as many as 320,000 homes in northern England – OPW, SSE and DONG Energy say.
102 wind turbines make up the Walney farm and each has a 3.6MW capacity. Manufactured by Siemens Wind Power, these turbines stand up to 120 metres above the waves and their blades have a 107 metre diameter.
Located in the Irish Sea, the farm’s actually made up of two interconnected sites – Walney 1 and Walney 2 – covering 73 square kilometres in total. Walney 1 began to generate power at the start of 2011 while Walney 2 did the same 10 months later. Now, both are working in unison, with ongoing support and maintenance being supplied by a team of about 60 people.
The role of opening the world’s largest offshore wind farm fell to Ed Davey – Britain’s newly-appointed Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change.
“Britain has a lot to be proud of in our growing offshore wind sector”, he explained in a statement. “Our island’s tremendous natural resource, our research base and a proud history of engineering make this the number one destination for investment in offshore wind. And Walney is the newest, biggest and fastest-built jewel in that crown, providing clean power for hundreds of thousands of households.”
“Walney 2 is the world’s fastest ever installation of an offshore wind farm and this accomplishment underlines DONG Energy’s position as a strong market leader within offshore wind”, DONG Energy’s Chief Executive Officer Anders Eldrup said, while his counterpart at SSE, Colin Hood, added: “This is a major milestone in the development of the Walney offshore wind farms and it demonstrates the excellent progress being made on the project.”
With a goal of having offshore wind power capacity reach 18GW by the year 2020, Britain presently has over 1.5GW installed and working.
Copyright Andy Dingley – Courtesy Wikimedia Commons
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