Offshore wind continues to gain momentum in Europe, with 20% more new installations and an additional 2.9 GW added to various grids by the end of 2020. We can find some of the world’s biggest offshore wind farms in British, Dutch and German waters. Here, we have rounded them in terms of capacity and its clean energy contribution as we know it.
Hornsea Wind Farm (United Kingdom)
As of January 2021, Hornsea Wind Farm has a capacity of 1,218 MW, making it the current largest offshore wind farm in the world. Just 120 km off the east coast of England, the development was in projects with construction starting from 2014. Probably the biggest ever seabed investigation was carried out to make this project a reality. Approximately 5,000m of boreholes were made to accommodate all future wind turbine generator positions. Hornsea wind turbines started generating power in February 2019. A 50:50 joint venture between Ørsted (previously known as DONG energy) and Global Infrastructure Partners, Hornsea Wind Farm, can accommodate a total capacity of up to 6 gigawatts (GW).
The Hornsea project claims to electrify 2 million households in Britain.
If we were to ground all the four Borssele wind projects together, it can technically generate well over the largest. Netherlands’ Borssele Wind Farm though is divided into Borssele I & II and Borssele III & IV respectively for business and commercial reasons.
Borssele I & II is a 752MW offshore wind power project peppering the Dutch North Sea, owned and operated by Ørsted. It has been fully operational since November 2020. Ørsted bagged the Netherlands Government tender at an approximate price of £65.7 (€72.7) per MWh. Approximately 190km of inter-array cables transmit the electricity generated by each wind turbine to a Borssele Alpha offshore substation.
The Borssele III and IV are also in proximity and has a capacity of 731.5MW. Owned by the Blauwwind consortium, the Borssele III & IV has many partners Group including Shell (20%), Mitsubishi Corporation’s subsidiary Diamond Generating Europe (15%) and other biggies.
They installed the last of the 77 wind turbines last year, and it has the potential to generate 3,000 GWh of green electricity a year; enough to power 825,000 Dutch households or 2.3% of the country’s total electricity demand.
East Anglia Array (United Kingdom)
The East Anglia Array project proposed is in the North Sea some 30 miles off England. The East Anglia Offshore Wind (EAOW) project is divided into three main subzones. On completion, the East Anglia project generates as much power as the current biggest wind farm.
East Anglia ONE owned by both Scottish Power Renewables and Vattenfall is currently operating at 714 MW, with a price tag estimation of £2.5 billion. It has the potential to reach an installed capacity of 1200 MW. The East Anglia TWO wind farm proposed close by will have a generating capacity of 900MW and is expected to be ready by 2030. The proposed East Anglia THREE wind farm is further away from the shore (42 miles) but hopes to provide an installed capacity of 1200 MW with its proposed 172 turbines. Apart from these three subzones, there is also the East Anglia ONE North that plans to generate up to 800MW.
Walney Wind Farm (United Kingdom)
Situated off the Walney island in the Irish Sea, the Walney offshore wind farms constructed by the Walney offshore Wind Farms Limited is run by Ørsted, Scottish and Southern Energy. It comprises Walney Phase 1, Phase 2 and the Walney Extension and currently clocks in at a capacity of 659 MW.
With over 51 turbines and a nameplate capacity of 367 MW, both the first and second phases were expected to generate about 1,300 GWh/year of electricity, with a load factor of 43%. The Walney Extension will add a maximum of 207 turbines into this mix soon in order to generate 750 MW.
London Array (United Kingdom)
With 175-turbines and a 630 MW capacity, the London Array located 12 mi off the Kent coast in the outer Thames Estuary is quite a sight from above. All the Siemens Wind Power SWT-3 turbines are connected through 210 km (130 mi) long array cables. The two offshore substations feed the London grid and thus the name London Array. They slate it to reduce the annual CO2 emissions by about 900,000 tons.
The construction of Phase 1 of this wind farm began in 2011. The second phase, though, is halted over concerns over the impact on seabirds.
Kriegers Flak (Denmark / Germany)
This 600 MW offshore wind farm is currently under construction in the Baltic Sea on the Danish waters. It will be part of the planned 400 MW interconnector between Denmark and Germany. The Danish Energy Agency found a favourable site with ideal wind conditions back in 2010. Kriegers Flak is also in close proximity to the German offshore wind farm ″EnBW Baltic 2″. Kriegers Flak thus has the location advantage to connect with the Danish grid and the ″EnBW Baltic 2″ German grid. Naturally divided into two portions by a sand dredging area, the wind farm has a west 200 MW side as well as an east 400 MW capacity side.