Dong Energy is to construct the world’s biggest wind farm, 12 miles off the UK’s west coast and investing more than £10 million in the project.
The 660MW Walney Extension Offshore Wind Farm, will be located in the Irish Sea, on the Cumbria coastline.
The final investment decision has been made after securing all necessary consents from authorities, completing site assessments and having signed the majority of the contracts for supply and installation to build the project.
Dong has not confirmed the precise size of the investment but is said to be spending in excess of £10million.
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.
The wind farm will be constructed and operated under the UK’s Final Investment Decision (FID)-enabling regime with a fixed price for the first 15 years of production.
Dong’s executive vice president Samuel Leupold, said: “Walney Extension will deliver clean electricity to more than 460,000 UK homes and I’m very pleased 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.”
Dong will deploy two different turbines: 40 8MW turbines from MHI Vestas Offshore Wind and 47 Siemens 7MW offshore turbines.
Leupold said: “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.”
Leupold said turbine blades, part of the foundations and cable installation will come from UK manufacturing facilities and vessels and create local energy jobs.
Dong is constructing 2,080MW in the UK and Germany. When these projects, including Walney Extension, are completed, it will have built a total more than 5,000 MW, corresponding to the annual consumption of electricity of more than 12.5 million Europeans.