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The Irish Sea has become home to the world’s largest offshore wind farm – Walney Extension. The offshore wind farm has 87 wind turbines generating enough green energy to power nearly 600,000 UK homes annually.
Walney Extension covers an area of 145km2 in the Irish Sea which is equal to 20,000 football pitches. The project becomes Ørsted’s 11th operational offshore wind farm in the UK.
The 659MW project, owned by Ørsted (50%) and its partners, the Danish pension funds PKA (25%) and PFA (25%), leapfrogs London Array to become the world’s largest operational wind farm.
Utilising the latest technology from two of the world’s leading turbine manufacturers, Walney Extension features 47 MHI Vestas 8MW wind turbines and a further 40 Siemens Gamesa 7MW wind turbines.
Construction of Walney Extension was co-ordinated from Ørsted’s West Coast Hub, at the Port of Barrow, which will now become home to the project’s operations and maintenance team. The West Coast Hub also services three further Ørsted offshore wind farms, i.e. Barrow, Walney and West of Duddon Sands.
The completion of Walney Extension brings Ørsted’s total capacity operating out of Barrow up to 1.5GW. Ørsted’s ongoing operations and maintenance activities will support more than 250 direct jobs in the region.
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.