The UK is continuing to push forward with its ambitious plans for offshore wind power generation. Recently, two of the country’s most significant projects to date marked milestones joining the projects generating power offshore in the UK. The Hornsea 2 project became fully operational as the world’s largest installed wind farm, while the Seagreen in Scotland achieved first power helping the UK to exceed a quarter of the country’s 50 GW goal by 2030.
Reports indicate that the UK has reached 12.7 GW of power being generated offshore up nearly 20 percent in 2022. As a country, it has now exceeded 40 operational projects and more than 2,550 installed offshore wind turbines. The numbers are projected to continue to rise rapidly.
The Hornsea zone is an area of the North Sea covering more than 700 square miles. Hornsea 2 was declared fully operational at the end of August about two years after offshore construction had begun on the second of three projects that Ørsted is developed at the site. The first phase of the project was completed at the end of 2019 and dedicated in 2020 with a capacity of over 1 GW.
Comprised of 165 wind turbines, located approximately 55 miles off the Yorkshire Coast, Hornsea 2 surpassed its predecessor to become the world’s largest installed wind farm with a capacity of 1.3 GW. Situated alongside its sibling Hornsea 1, the two wind farms together can power an estimated 2.5 million homes. Ørsted also plans to develop the third phase of the site which would add a further 2.8 GW of power. The UK government awarded a contract earlier this year for Hornsea 3.
“The UK is truly a world leader in offshore wind and the completion of Hornsea 2 is a tremendous milestone for the offshore wind industry, not just in the UK but globally,” said Duncan Clark, Head of Region UK at Ørsted. “Current global events highlight more than ever the importance of landmark renewable energy projects like Hornsea 2, helping the UK increase the security and resilience of its energy supply and drive down costs for consumers by reducing dependence on expensive fossil fuels.”
Ørsted now has 13 operational offshore wind farms in the UK, providing 6.2GW of renewable electricity for the UK, enough to power more than 7 million homes according to the company. Ørsted also says that its projects have helped to lay the foundation for the supply chain to support the next phase of the UK’s offshore wind projects.
Also in late August, the Seagreen offshore wind farm, approximately 15 miles off the coast of Angus in Scotland, achieved its first power generation. Seagreen will be Scotland’s largest offshore wind farm and the world’s deepest fixed bottom wind farm as it is being developed in 59 meters (193 feet) of water depth. When fully operational, the site will produce around 5 terawatt hours (TWh) of renewable electricity per year, enough to power the equivalent of 1.6 million households.
The first turbine, of a total of 114, was commissioned on August 22. The project for the 1075 MW farm, which is being developed in partnership between TotalEnergies and SSE Renewables, aims to be fully operational in the first half of 2023. TotalEnergies acquired a 51 percent stake in the wind farm in June 2020 from SSE Renewables.