United Kingdom

World’s largest offshore wind farm opens

Walney (UK) Offshore Windfarms Ltd opened the world’s largest operational offshore wind farm off the coast of Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria (UK) this week. The £1 billion Walney wind farm, which is a joint venture between DONG Energy (50.1%), SSE (25.1%) and OPW ( 24.8%), was officially opened by Edward Davey, Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change.
World’s largest offshore wind farm opens

Another major milestone was reached in the wind industry this week. After the largest onshore wind farm in Central America was opened in Honduras, attention turned to the United Kingdom, where the world’s largest operational offshore wind farm was opened off the northeast coast of England.

With 102 turbines and a total capacity of 367.2 MW, Walney can supply up to 320,000 households a year with renewable power.The wind farm, which combines the Walney 1 and 2 projects, has already set a number of industry records, and will create approximately 60 jobs at its new operations centre in Barrow-in-Furness.

DONG Energy managed to construct Walney 2 in the fastest ever time for an offshore wind project, with all turbines and cables installed in just five months and 13 days, setting a record in the sector. It marks an important step for the industry, and DONG Energy’s strong drive towards further industrialising the industry.

Walney is also ground-breaking in its financing, being the first UK offshore wind farm to receive investment from a pension fund service provider and an equity fund before it had even been built. OPW, a consortium of the Dutch pension fund service provider PGGM and Ampere Equity Fund, took a 24.8 per cent stake in the project in December 2010.

The partnership with PGGM and Ampere Equity Fund, which is managed by Triodos Bank’s subsidiary Triodos Investment Management, clearly demonstrates that institutional investors are willing to invest in well-structured offshore wind projects alongside market leading industry participants. DONG Energy has around 30 per cent of the offshore wind market throughout Europe.

”Britain has a lot to be proud of in our growing offshore wind sector. 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,“ commented Edward Davey, Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, at the opening ceremony yesterday. ”And Walney is the newest, biggest and fastest-built jewel in that crown, providing clean power for hundreds of thousands of households.“

”Opening Walney during my first week in office lets me underline my commitment to continuing the Coalition’s work to make this sector a success story for the British economy, not least with the innovation it is driving and the employment it is creating.”

With 1GW of offshore wind generation on stream or under construction in the UK, and an investment program totalling around £3 billion in offshore wind alone, DONG Energy is a major investor in the UK.
“DONG Energy is delighted to have developed this record-breaking wind farm. Not only is it the world’s biggest wind farm but it has been built in the fastest time ever and it marked a new era in terms of financing being the first project in the UK backed by institutional investors. Walney is a landmark in offshore wind and DONG Energy’s strong drive to further industrialise offshore wind power and cut costs. It demonstrates our commitment to invest in the UK,” commented Anders Eldrup, CEO of DONG Energy.

Walney 1 and Walney 2 each comprise 51 turbines with a total capacity of 367.2MW. The development includes foundations, turbines, export- and array cables, offshore substations and onshore connection to grid. The capacity of each turbine is 3.6MW, and the rotor diameter of the turbines is 107m for Walney 1 and 120m for Walney 2, with a maximum height of 150m from sea level to blade tip.

Forecasts suggest as many as 70,000 people could be employed in the UK offshore wind industry by the start of the next decade. Siemens, who made the turbines for Walney, is planning a manufacturing plant in Hull, while Gamesa and Vestas also have plans.  Just this week the industry as a whole announced a vision for 50 per cent of content being British sourced in future.

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DONG Energy

This is all great news. I'm all for wind. Though when you report that the 367MW can provide for around 320k households - there is a fat underlying assumption that the capacity factor of the farm is 100% when I believe in actuality its more like 30-40%...
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