After 10GW Milestone in Offshore Wind Energy, UK Goes for 3.6 GW Offshore Wind Farm

After 10GW Milestone in Offshore Wind Energy, UK Goes for 3.6 GW Offshore Wind Farm

With the country poised to become the first in the world to reach 10GW of offshore wind energy capacity, the United Kingdom is moving ahead with it’s biggest offshore installation yet on an artificial island off the Yorkshire coast.

In the coming weeks, the UK will hit its milestone of 10 GW of offshore wind power plants, a major achievement on its target to reach 30 GW of offshore wind by 2030.  The country has committed to becoming carbon neutral by 2050.

A big step in the journey to 30 GW is the move to establish a 3.6 GW offshore farm off the coast of Yorkshire.

The turbines will be built on Dogger Bank Wind Farms, an artificial island 130 km off the coast of Yorkshire in the North Sea.  The aim is to generate enough power to run 4.5 million homes per annum, close to 5 percent of the UK’s total power requirement.

The primary turbines picked for the ambitious project are the Haliade-X turbines – which have been developed by Paris-based company GE Renewable Energy – and will be connected by electricity cables to the UK, Norway, the Netherlands, Germany, Denmark and Belgium. Construction is due to start in 2020, with the first power production joining the grid in 2023.

The Haliade X from GE Energy, and produced in France,  is 260 meters high from base to blade tips—and its blades are as long as a football field. The rotor features a diameter of 220 meters, with GE claiming that each turbine can power 16,000 homes.

The combination of a bigger rotor, longer blades and higher capacity factor makes the Haliade-X less sensitive to wind speed variations, increasing predictability and the ability to generate more power at low wind speeds. The Haliade-X can capture more Annual Energy Production (AEP) than any other offshore wind turbine even at low wind conditions.

This 12 MW ocean wind turbine can supposedly generate 67 GWh annually, the highest  AEP on the market today. The UK, of course, is blessed with the relatively windy North Sea. For perspective, India’s total offshore wind energy target is just 5 GW by 2022 and 30 by 2030, with the first installation not slated until next year possibly.

For the UK, the progress on this project, which could make Dogger bank the largest such project in the world for offshore, is particularly important at a time when the country is riven with divisions on the best way forward. More importantly, for futuristic technologies at scale like the Haliade X-12, success in these markets could really open up possibilities for it and other competitors including Siemens Gamesa to look more hopefully at fulfilling ambitious offshore wind targets that countries, especially China and India have also set.

These far offshore projects don’t just take care of the NIMBY problem; they could also help reduce other resistance issues for offshore, be its impact on the local birdlife or even the marine environment. Besides predictable output, of course.

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Prasanna Singh

Prasanna has been a media professional for over 20 years. He is the Group Editor of Saur Energy International