World’s largest offshore wind farm opens off England’s coast

Cumbrian coast is now home to 20,000 football pitches worth of wind turbines

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Cumbria: Famous for sausages, Samuel Taylor Coleridge and now the largest offshore wind farm in the world. The 659-megawatt Walney Extension – an 87-turbine-strong wind farm – has officially opened in the Irish Sea off the coast of Cumbria, inhabiting an area roughly the size of 20,000 football pitches (145km x 145km).  

Walney Extension’s size and scope makes it the largest offshore wind farm in the world – although the shelf life of this title doesn’t look set to last for long. A host of titanic projects are well underway, including the East Anglia One, helmed by ScottishPower, and Hornsea Projects One and Two, run by Danish power company Ørsted. The latter operation has the capacity of 714 megawatts and 1,200 megawatts respectively, somewhat dwarfing the Walney Extension. 

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However, Ørsted happens to be the company behind Walney Extension too and, for its part, couldn’t be happier about the endeavour. “The UK is the global leader in offshore wind and Walney Extension showcases the industry’s incredible success story,” explains Matthew Wright, the company’s Managing Director. “The project, completed on time and within budget, also marks another important step towards Ørsted’s vision of a world that runs entirely on green energy.”

The UK fits into that vision nicely. Indeed, in 2017, the UK built more offshore wind farms than any other European country. That’s in a continent where offshore wind energy grew by 25% last year alone. 

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Wright goes onto explain that the UK’s North-West plays a sizable role in his company’s objectives. Their aim, he says, is to “make a lasting and positive impact” in the area. This means keeping locals on board: “We want to ensure that the local community becomes an integral part of the renewable energy revolution that’s happening along its coastline.”

It’s not just locals that’ll be kept happy, either. Walney Extension aims to supply a whopping 600,000 UK homes with green power. Guilt-free power usage? Now there’s a scheme we can get on board with.

 Lead image: Martin Pettitt, used under Creative Commons

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