On Thursday last week DONG Energy decided to construct the 660MW Walney Extension Offshore Wind Farm in the Irish Sea, approximately 19 kilometres off the coast of Cumbria. The final investment decision has been taken after securing all necessary consents from relevant authorities, completing site assessments and having signed the majority of the contracts for supply and installation to build the project.
Walney Extension is expected to be fully commissioned in 2018, at which time it will be the biggest offshore wind farm in the world, surpassing the 630MW London Array Offshore Wind Farm which was commissioned in 2014 by DONG Energy and its partners. The wind farm will be constructed and operated under the UK’s EMR FID-enabling regime with a fixed price for the first 15 years of production.
Samuel Leupold, Executive Vice President at DONG Energy, said: “Walney Extension will deliver clean electricity to more than 460,000 UK homes and I’m very glad that we can now start construction of what will be the world’s biggest offshore wind farm when completed. Building this offshore wind farm will bring us significantly closer to realising our strategy of having 6.5GW of installed capacity online by 2020.”
He added: “British offshore wind has seen phenomenal growth in recent years. A prerequisite for long-term growth in the industry is that offshore wind eventually can compete on costs with other energy technologies. Building Walney Extension will bring us one step closer to that target and I’m satisfied to see that we keep bringing costs down, while continuing to expand the UK supply chain. I’m also excited about the fact that turbine blades, part of the foundations and cable installation will come from UK manufacturing facilities and create local jobs.”
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DONG Energy has decided to deploy two different turbines: 40 MHI Vestas Offshore Wind 8MW turbines and 47 Siemens 7MW offshore turbines.
Currently DONG Energy is constructing 2,080MW of offshore wind capacity in the UK and Germany. When these projects, including Walney Extension, are completed, the group will have built a total of 5,089MW. This corresponds to the annual consumption of electricity for more than 12.5 million Europeans.