World’s Biggest Offshore Windfarm Opens in Irish Sea

Wind turbines stand in the Irish Sea (Photo Credit: PAUL ELLIS/AFP/Getty Images).
Wind turbines stand in the Irish Sea (Photo Credit: PAUL ELLIS/AFP/Getty Images).

The world’s largest offshore wind farm, Walney Extension has been officially opened in the Irish Sea, amid concerns that Brexit could raise costs for upcoming projects.

Walney Extension’s 87 turbines are capable of generating enough green energy to power almost 600,000 UK homes. Covering an area of 145km2 in the Irish Sea, the project becomes Ørsted’s 11th operational offshore wind farm in the UK.

Utilising the latest technology from two of the world’s leading turbine manufacturers, Walney Extension features 47 MHI Vestas 8MW turbines and a further 40 Siemens Gamesa 7MW turbines-with blades manufactured in the UK.

The project has worked with key suppliers from across the UK, supporting the growth of offshore wind “clusters” around the country. More than 50 local suppliers, from Carlisle to Lancaster, were involved throughout construction.

The completion of Walney Extension brings Ørsted’s total capacity operating out of Barrow up to 1.5 gigawatts (GW), which is enough to power more than 1.2 million UK homes. Ørsted’s ongoing operations and maintenance activities will support more than 250 direct jobs in the region.

Speaking on the new clean energy project, UK Energy and Clean Growth Minister Claire Perry, said, “record-breaking engineering landmarks like this huge offshore wind farm help us consolidate our global leadership position, break records for generating renewable energy, and create thousands of high-quality jobs.”

“As part of our modern Industrial Strategy we’ve set out a further £557 million of funding for new renewable projects, helping to tackle climate change and deliver clean growth to local economies,” she added.

The 659 megawatt (MW) project is owned by Ørsted with 50 per cent stake and partners PKA, 25 per cent and PFA 25 per cent.