The world’s largest operational offshore wind farm, Walney Extension, has been officially opened at a ceremony in Cumbria
The world’s largest working offshore wind farm – covering an area equivalent to 20,000 football pitches – is now operational.
The 659MW project leapfrogs London Array (the previous biggest) to become the world’s largest operational wind farm.
Walney Extension’s 87 turbines are capable of generating enough green energy to power almost 600,000 UK homes. It covers an area of 145km2 in the Irish Sea. Half is owned by Danish company Ørsted, while partners PKA and PFA own 25 per cent each. Construction began in 2015.
Matthew Wright, Ørsted UK managing director, said: “The UK is the global leader in offshore wind and Walney Extension showcases the industry’s incredible success story.”
Wright told the Guardian he was unfazed by the ‘wind drought’ that the heatwave brought to much of Europe this summer. “We will see some low wind periods, some high wind outputs,” he said.
Energy minister Claire Perry, added: “Record-breaking engineering landmarks like this help us consolidate our global leadership position, break records for generating renewable energy, and create thousands of high quality jobs.”
About 250 people will be employed in the operation and maintenance of the wind farm. The turbine blades were manufactured in Hull and the Isle of Wight. Offshore windfarms now provide nearly a tenth of the UK’s electricity.