Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

World's Largest Offshore Wind Farm Opens in Irish Sea

Renewable Energy
The Walney Extension. Ørsted UK

The world's largest offshore wind farm opened in the Irish Sea on Thursday, covering an area of 145 square kilometers (55 square miles).

The 659-megawatt Walney Extension, located approximately 19 kilometers (12 miles) off the coast of Cumbria, England, consists of 87 turbines and is capable of generating enough renewable energy to power almost 600,000 UK homes.


The 87 turbines are located in the Irish Sea, covering an area the equivalent of 20,000 football pitches.Ørsted UK

To compare, the 175-turbine London Array—now the second largest offshore wind farm in the world—has a 630-megawatt capacity, or enough to power about half a million homes.

The Walney Extension is run by Danish energy giant Ørsted (formerly Dong Energy) and the Danish pension funds PKA and PFA.

The project was constructed on time and within budget, Ørsted UK managing director Matthew Wright said in a press release.

The wind farm features 40 MHI Vestas 8-megawatt turbines and 47 Siemens Gamesa 7-megawatt turbines, the first project to use wind turbines from two different manufacturers. That's less than half the number of turbines used at the London Array, but Walney's turbines are more powerful.

"It's another benchmark in terms of the scale. This—bigger turbines, with fewer positions and a bit further out—is really the shape of projects going forward," Wright told The Guardian.

MHI Vestas turbines stand 195 meters (213 yards) tall, and are the most powerful being used globally.

Ørsted UK

The UK government approved the Walney Extension contract in 2014 that promised a minimum price of £150 ($195) per megawatt hour for 15 years. Since the contract was awarded, costs of offshore wind plummeted more than 50 percent, with the latest auction dropping as low as £57.50 per megawatt hour, Reuters noted.

Offshore wind technology is advancing at a rapid pace, meaning the Walney Extension could soon lose its title. For instance, Ørsted's Hornsea Project One off the UK's Yorkshire coast is expected to be fully operational by 2020 and will have a capacity of 1,200 megawatts, or enough power for more than one million UK homes.

The Netherlands is also planning a massive offshore wind farm proposed by Dutch electric grid operator TenneT. If that gets the green-light, the 10,000-turbine complex could produce up to 30 gigawatts of power by 2027. That's enough electricity to power a city of 20 million people.

Watch here to learn more about the Walney Extension:

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

A bald eagle chick inside a nest in Rutland, Massachusetts. Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife
A bald eagle nest with eggs has been discovered in Cape Cod for the first time in 115 years, according to the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife (Mass Wildlife), as Newsweek reported.
Read More Show Less
The office of Rover.com sits empty with employees working from home due to the coronavirus pandemic on March 12 in Seattle, Washington. John Moore / Getty Images

The office may never look the same again. And the investment it will take to protect employees may force many companies to go completely remote. That's after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued new recommendations for how workers can return to the office safely.

Read More Show Less
Frederic Edwin Church's The Icebergs reveal their danger as a crush vessel is in the foreground of an iceberg strewn sea, 1860. Buyenlarge / Getty Images

Scientists and art historians are studying art for signs of climate change and to better understand the ways Western culture's relationship to nature has been altered by it, according to the BBC.

Read More Show Less
Esben Østergaard, co-founder of Lifeline Robotics and Universal Robots, takes a swab in the World's First Automatic Swab Robot, developed with Thiusius Rajeeth Savarimuthu, professor at the Maersk Mc-Kinney Moller Institute at The University of Southern Denmark. The University of Southern Denmark

By Richard Connor

The University of Southern Denmark on Wednesday announced that its researchers have developed the world's first fully automatic robot capable of carrying out throat swabs for COVID-19.

Read More Show Less
Jackson Family Wines in California discovered that a huge amount of carbon pollution was caused by manufacturing wine bottles. Edsel Querini / Getty Images

Before you pour a glass of wine, feel the weight of the bottle in your hand. Would you notice if it were a few ounces lighter? Jackson Family Wines is betting that you won't.

Read More Show Less
The SpaceX crew capsule will launch out of Cape Canaveral, Florida. SpaceX

After a minor setback, a new era in space travel and tourism is set to launch this weekend.

Read More Show Less

Trending

A former Federal Reserve board of governors member on Thursday called on her former colleagues to stop using Covid-19 relief funds to bail out the "dying" fossil fuel industry. Douglas Sacha / Getty Images

By Eoin Higgins

A former Federal Reserve board of governors member on Thursday called on her former colleagues to stop using Covid-19 relief funds to bail out the "dying" fossil fuel industry, calling the decision a threat to the planet's climate and a misguided use of taxpayer money.

Read More Show Less