World’s Largest Offshore Wind Farm Powers Up

Once the wind farm is fully operational in 2020 it will be able to power over a 1 million UK homes.

World’s Largest Offshore Wind Farm Powers Up | Once the wind farm is fully operational in 2020 it will be able to power over a 1 million UK homes.

Wind power is safe green source of renewable energy and the UK is one of the best locations in the world both onshore and offshore. By the end of May 2019, there were 9, 851 wind turbines producing energy. Now that the world's largest wind farm is partially built and beginning to produce power, the number is going to keep climbing higher.

Located 120  kilometers (75 miles) off the Yorkshire coast in the UK, Hornsea Project 1, will cover 407 square KM and nearly double the size of Walney Extension; the largest offshore wind farm fully operational today. When finished in 2020, Hornsea Project 1 will be capable of generating enough renewable energy to power one million UK homes. That's a huge amount of energy.

“Hornsea 1 is the first of a new generation of offshore power plants that now rival the capacity of traditional fossil fuel power stations. 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 Matthew Wright, UK managing director at the Danish company Ørsted in a company news release.

The windfarm is a joint venture between Ørsted, the global leader in offshore wind and Global Infrastructure Partners. According to the company, construction began in early 2018, and to date, 50 of the 174 wind turbines are operational. The huge turbines are the Siemens Gamesa 7MW and stand 190 meters tall with 75-meter blades. These turbines were designed for high wind offshore locations.

“To make this next generation of wind farm possible, the entire supply chain has stepped up to a massive challenge. This has involved scaling up, improving products and processes, refining skills, and together leading offshore wind to its market leading position for new projects today, where it is now competitive on cost of electricity, on scale, on sustainability and on lead time," said Duncan Clark, project director for both Hornsea 1, and its sister project Hornsea Two, also under construction.

In early June 2019, Ørsted ferried the first of two project teams to begin operating and maintaining the wind farm 24/7. The crews will remain at sea for 2-week stints staying on the state-of-the-art service operations vessel which has a game room and a gym.

“A big part of this is our people, and ensuring offshore life is as comfortable as possible for them.There is even 4G internet connection already out there, a huge feat given the distance from shore. I am really looking forward to our first two-week shift,” said David Coussens the deputy operations manager for Hornsea 1 and the leader of the first operational team shift in a company statement.

The project will feature the first UK offshore helicopter refueling that was necessary because of the distance offshore. The longest AC offshore wind export cable also had to be built.

“Operating a wind farm this far offshore is unprecedented. We’ve had to think creatively and come up with new ways of working to overcome the logistical and technical challenges of operating a massive power station 120km from the shore, about the same distance as Grimsby to Leeds," Coussens said.  

Hornsea 1 has certainly hit a new milestone on the size and generating power of wind farms. The UK has become a major powerhouse in green energy and is well on its way to meeting its targets of 30 percent of electricity coming from renewables by 2020 and a third of electricity coming from offshore wind by 2030. Wind power has the potential to soar.

Scottish Wind Farms Produce More Energy Than the Country Needs
Renewable Energy Has Overtaken Fossil Fuels in the UK
Offshore Wind Auction Unlocks the Potential for Green Energy in the US