16-Feb-2016

World’s largest offshore wind farm to be built on UK coastline

World’s largest offshore wind farm to be built on UK coastline

The UK has been selected to house the world’s largest offshore wind farm off the North East coast, supporting major investment and energy job opportunities in the country.

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The Danish firm DONG Energy has awarded British infrastructure company Balfour Beatty its £25 million contract to build the biggest offshore wind farm the globe has ever seen.

Plans for the world’s largest wind farm

Named Hornsea Project One and located on Yorkshire’s coastline, the 1.2GW energy facility will have the capacity to power over one million homes and is expected to be in operation by 2020.

DONG Energy’s plans will see the UK accommodate 174 600-feet-tall wind turbines covering 160 square miles of the North Sea, with the eventual ability to generate electricity for one million of the estimated 25 million homes in Britain.

The project will surpass the current record-holder, the London Array, to become the biggest offshore wind farm operating in the world. DONG Energy has already contributed £6 billion towards wind power in the UK and Hornsea Project One will mark the largest in offshore production to date, with the firm based in Denmark expressing that it will likely invest a further £6 billion towards establishing the new wind farm by 2020.

Chief executive of DONG Energy in the UK, Brent Cheshire, said: “We are making a major financial investment to construct this giant wind farm and this underlines our commitment to the U.K. market. 

“To have the world’s biggest ever offshore wind farm located off the Yorkshire coast is hugely significant, and highlights the vital role offshore wind will play in the U.K.’s need for new low-carbon energy.”

Impact on UK energy infrastructure

The British government has committed more than £137 million towards the new project, which is expected to support the nation’s economy and create jobs in the energy sector.

Hornsea Project One will encourage the supply chain and help develop local jobs, with around 2,000 workers required for the design and construction of the wind farm. A further 300 positions are likely to be created for its operation and many existing jobs could be affected by the project during the build. Although it remains uncertain at this point, DONG Energy has mooted plans to have the giant wind turbines manufactured at a factory owned by Siemens in nearby Hull.

Energy Secretary Amber Rudd said: “DONG Energy’s investment shows that we are open for business and is a vote of confidence in the UK and in our plan to tackle the legacy of under-investment and build an energy infrastructure fit for the 21st century.

“This project means secure, clean energy for the country, jobs and financial security for working people and their families and more skills and growth boosting the Northern Powerhouse.”

Positive message for renewable energy

The renewable energy site marks a major step forward in adopting cleaner forms of power production in the UK. Given last year’s announcement that the Government will end subsidies for onshore wind generation, the new wind farm’s go ahead will undoubtedly bring some relief to concerns about the future of the industry. It is hoped that with DONG Energy being given the green light, Hornsea Project One could well lead the way for previously proposed offshore facilities: Beatrice One and Neart na Gaoithe in Scotland, and East Anglia One.

The size of the new wind farm supports a number of potential benefits to the country as an attractive proposition for inward investment and, critically, a source for job creation in the sector.

Image Credit: Kim Hansen (flickr.com)

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