In September 2018, the 659MW Walney Extension was inaugurated in the Irish Sea. It is the world’s largest offshore wind farm, generating enough energy to power nearly 600,000 UK homes annually. It is also the first project consisting of wind turbines from two different manufacturers, MHI Vestas and Siemens Gamesa.
Completed on time and on budget, the Walney Extension is a testament to the incredible development that offshore wind energy has undergone since the first pioneering projects in the beginning of the 1990s. The cost of energy has diminished with the maturation of the industry. In Europe, electricity from new offshore wind farms can now compete with coal, gas and nuclear power plants. This makes offshore wind a feasible alternative, as Europe is phasing out coal to reduce fossil dependence and limit climate change.
Today, more than 16GW offshore wind is installed in Europe. Studies reveal the economically viable potential exceeds 600GW – enough to match the production capacity of every European coal fired power plant – twice.
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Facts about Walney Extension offshore wind farm
- Owned by Ørsted (50%), PKA (25%) and PFA (25%)
- Located in the Irish Sea – approximately 19km from the Walney Island coast in Cumbria
- Covers an area of 145 km² equal to around 20,000 football pitches
- Total capacity of 659MW – capable of powering almost 600,000 UK homes
- First project to use turbine technology from two different manufacturers
- More than 200km of cables used to connect the turbines offshore to the National Grid onshore
- Features two offshore substations, each weighing 4,000 tonnes. The jacket foundation height is 50m, and topside height is 18.5m.
Picture Credit: Matthias Ibeler