Wind power is one of the most prominent and most used forms of renewable energy. Along with solar and hydroelectric, it is one of the forms most relied on by governments to provide renewable energy, with some estimates suggesting wind energy could contribute up to 10-20% of the world’s total energy budget. Which is why building bigger and better wind farms is a priority for many nations the world over.
The British are set to follow this trend, with the world’s largest offshore wind farm to be constructed in British waters. DONG Energy—Denmark’s largest energy company—is set to build the 660-megawatt (MW) Walney Extension project in the Irish Sea, around 19 km (11.8 mi) off the coast of Cumbria.
Samuel Leupold, Executive Vice President at DONG Energy, said in a press statement:
“Walney Extension will deliver clean electricity to more than 460,000 UK homes and I’m very glad that we can now start construction of what will be the world’s biggest offshore wind farm when completed. Building this offshore wind farm will bring us significantly closer to realising our strategy of having 6.5 GW of installed capacity online by 2020.”
Walney Extension is expected to be fully commissioned in 2018, and will surpass the 630 MW London Array Offshore Wind Farm which was commissioned in 2014 by DONG Energy and its partners.
Offshore wind is one of the few profitable options left in the market, after the British government cut subsidies for other renewable energies. Since then, the government has announced plans to taper subsidies and other assistance to onshore wind, solar and biomass projects, while saying it’s committed to meeting Britain’s binding targets.
The project is called “Walney extension” because it is an extension of the existing 367 MW Walney 1 and Walney 2 wind farms, in which DONG Energy holds a 50.1% stake.