UK completes construction of world’s largest offshore wind farm

This week the world’s largest offshore wind farm, the London Array, finished construction in UK waters. This now means that both the world’s biggest onshore and offshore wind farms are now supplying electricity to British homes. The London Array was a joint project between Dong Energy, Masdar and EON.

The London Array consists of 175 individual 6MW turbines giving a total installed capacity of 630MWs. This  will provide enough electricity to power nearly half a million homes or expressed another way two thirds of Kent’s housing stock. Additionally the wind farm will reduce the UK’s carbon emissions by 900,000 tonnes a year.

The completion of construction was announced with much fanfare. Richard Rigg, the Project Director stated:

“This is the final major milestone of the construction phase and the culmination of more than two years offshore construction work which began in March 2011 with the installation of the first foundation.

“It has been a complex operation but I am delighted that the commissioning of the wind farm has now been completed on schedule, despite the worst of the winter weather.”

Country Manager for Dong Energy‘s UK Wind Business, Benj Sykes commented:

“Building London Array, the world’s largest offshore wind farm, is a great achievement.

“As we now look to our pipeline of future projects, Dong Energy is determined to drive down the cost of offshore wind farms to €100 per megawatt hour for projects we will be sanctioning in 2020.

“What we have learnt at London Array, together with our continuing focus on innovation in technologies and techniques, will help us achieve that.”

Tony Cocker, Chief Executive Officer at E.ON UK remarked:

“London Array is a significant achievement in renewable energy. The world’s largest operational offshore wind farm will be  capable of generating enough energy  to power nearly half a million homes and reduce harmful CO2 emissions by over 900,000 tonnes a year.

“It’s been a tough time for the team working on site. The recent bad weather and north-easterly winds have whipped up the waves preventing access to the site so this milestone is true reward for their hard work.”

Maria McCaffrey, RenewableUK Chief Executive released the following statement:

“Britain has a real achievement to celebrate here – the largest operational offshore wind farm in the world is generating clean electricity for British homes and businesses . It’s a monumental feat of green engineering. Other massive projects are also coming to fruition in UK waters, such as Teeside, Gwynt y Mor off the coast of North Wales and Gunfleet Sands off the Essex coast, where the next generation of even more powerful offshore turbines is being tested in the water for the first time anywhere in the world.

To hold on the UK’s global lead in offshore wind, it’s vital that we maintain this momentum. We  must ensure that the crucial  legislation going through Parliament right now – the Energy Bill – sets a rock-solid framework to encourage investment in renewables.

“If MPs get the details of the Bill right, we can unlock billions of pounds of investment for more flagship low-carbon projects like London Array, and create 76,000 jobs in the British wind industry by the dawn of the next decade.

“To secure those jobs, and to safeguard employment for future generations, we’re also getting the Government to articulate a clear vision of the scale of its amobition for the wind industry in the longer term, beyond 2020.”

The completion of Phase One of the London Array demonstrates the great strides the British wind industry is taking, delivering much needed growth and jobs to the British economy.  The fact that the UK is now home to the world’s largest offshore and onshore (Whitelees wind farm in South Lanarkshire) wind farms demonstrates the existing strength of the industry. But the potential is there for far more.

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