World’s largest offshore wind farm
The world’s largest offshore wind farm has taken shape off the coast of North West England with super-sized wind turbines standing 160 metres tall generating around 660MW. Developed and operated by Denmark’s wind power giant Ørsted, the Walney wind farm that has grown to the size of 20,000 football pitches will generate enough electricity to power 600,000 homes.
Together with Ørsted’s earlier Walney 1 and Walney 2 wind projects, the stretch of sea 19 kilometres off the Cumbrian coast will have a power capacity of 1.5GW.
Danish owner Orsted began onshore construction of the project in 2015, and this new ‘Walney extension” wind farm uses less than half the number of turbines but is more powerful.
Britain’s Conservative government has hailed the development. Energy Minister Claire Perry said "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."
Matthew Wright, the UK managing director of Ørsted, the project’s developer, said: “It’s another benchmark in terms of the scale. This – bigger turbines, with fewer positions and a bit further out – is really the shape of projects going forward.”
Wright has welcomed British ministers’ commitment to auctions for clean energy subsidies every two years starting from 2019 and commented that the searing heat wave that swept across Europe would have a positive impact on action to stem global warming, with a greater focus on climate and energy policy.
Offshore windfarms currently provide nearly a tenth of the UK’s electricity.
Here in Australia Acciona Energía - a global operator in renewable energies with 25 years’ experience in the sector and over 9,000 MW under its ownership - is investing $288 million in a new 157.5 MW wind farm at Mortlake South in Victoria.
This follows their success in the state’s Renewable Energy Auction Scheme.
“This auction result broadens and deepens our investment in Victoria and Australia more generally,” said Brett Wickham, Acciona Energy Australia’s Managing Director.
Mortlake South will incorporate a scalable battery energy storage system to help boost performance and integration into the electricity grid. Construction is scheduled to begin in early 2019.
On completion in mid 2020 the wind farm will increase Acciona’s installed renewable energy capacity in Australia by 36 per cent.
The wind farm will generate the clean energy equivalent of the electricity consumption of almost 80,000 Australian households, avoiding the emission of over 532,000 tonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere each year.
Based in Melbourne, the company is already a major investor in the Victorian renewables sector and recently completed the 132 MW Mt Gellibrand facility which is in the commissioning phase, while the 192 MW wind farm at Waubra has been operating for almost a decade.
Mortlake South will be Acciona Energy's fifth wind farm in Australia after Mt Gellibrand, Cathedral Rocks (64 MW in South Australia), Waubra, and Gunning (46.5 MW in NSW).