Energy minister Michael Fallon officially opened the world’s second largest wind farm on Wednesday, which is outsized only by London Array.
The new project, Greater Gabbard, is situated off the coast of Suffolk and consists of 140 turbines. It was opened on Tuesday, only a month after the ribbon was cut on London Array, the world’s largest wind farm.
The project cost £1.3 billion and will provide half a million homes with clean energy. Operations at the site are to be overseen by a team in Lowestoft, where 100 people are employed.
Speaking at the opening, Fallon said, “The UK leads the world in offshore wind power generation with more capacity than the rest of the world combined, and we want to see this sector grow even further.
“Greater Gabbard has already brought jobs and wider benefit to the local community, with hundreds of people employed on site, and a £150,000 fund created to support local initiatives, which will be managed by Suffolk Community Foundation.”
The opening comes just days after the government unveiled a long-term strategy to keep Britain at the forefront of the offshore wind industry. This included a £20m investment from the Regional Growth Fund for a new programme designed to support the UK’s offshore wind supply chain, and £46m over five years to help bring innovative products to a commercial stage.
Fallon highlighted the benefits that offshore wind can bring to other sectors, saying, “Today, I visited Seajacks, a British company based in Great Yarmouth, who are building the world’s largest and most advanced offshore wind farm installation vessel to transport turbines out to this great wind farm.”
Meanwhile, Alistair Phillips-Davies, chief executive of SSE, which developed the project alongside RWE Innogy, said, “Greater Gabbard has been a pioneering project during this period and can proudly take its place as a major milestone in the development of the UK offshore wind industry.”
In July, energy secretary Ed Davey gave the green light to an additional project off the coast of Lincolnshire and Norfolk, which once built, will overtake London Array as the world’s largest wind farm.