A view from the last turbine. Photo: London Array
Full capacity has now been reached at the 630MW first phase of the world’s largest offshore wind farm, the London Array. The commissioning of the 175th and final turbine happened at 16.09 on Saturday, 6 April.
With all turbines now exporting power to the national grid, London Array is expected to produce enough green electricity to power nearly half a million homes a year.
Turbine installation was completed in December 2012; since then the project has focused on fully commissioning and putting into operation all 175 of the 3.6MW Siemens turbines by this spring.
“This is the final major milestone of the construction phase and the culmination of more than two years’ offshore construction work which began in March 2011 with the installation of the first foundation,” said Project Director Richard Rigg.
“It has been a complex operation but I am delighted that the commissioning of the wind farm has now been completed on schedule, despite the worst of the winter weather.”
The project has started handing over to the Operations and Maintenance Team. This will be completed in the summer when the last shallow array cable has been buried.
Benj Sykes, Country Manager for DONG Energy’s UK Wind business, said: “Building London Array, the world’s largest offshore wind farm, is a great achievement.
“As we now look to our pipeline of future projects, DONG Energy is determined to drive down the costs of our offshore wind farms to €100 per megawatt hour for projects we’ll be sanctioning in 2020.
“What we have learnt at London Array, together with our continuing focus on innovation in technologies and techniques, will help us achieve that.”
Tony Cocker, Chief Executive Officer of E.ON UK, commented: “London Array is a significant achievement in renewable energy. The world’s largest operational offshore wind farm will be capable of generating enough energy to power nearly half a million homes and reduce harmful CO2 emissions by over 900,000 tonnes a year.
“It’s been a tough time for the team working on site. The recent bad weather and north easterly winds have whipped up the waves preventing access to the site so this milestone is true reward for their hard work.”
Dr Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, Chief Executive Officer of Masdar, said: “Just over two years ago, we celebrated the first of 177 foundation installations in this massive undertaking. Today, after overcoming challenges on both land and at sea, we celebrate the commissioning of the final turbine.
“As a partner in some of the world’s most sophisticated and large-scale renewable energy projects, Masdar recognises the value of robust collaborative efforts as exemplified by the London Array. Masdar is proud to be contributing to the United Kingdom’s clean energy mix and remains committed to growing offshore wind capacity in the UK and worldwide.”
London Array is being built around 20km off the coasts of Kent and Essex on a 245km2 site. Phase One covers an area of 90km2 and includes 175 turbines with a combined capacity of 630MW. A possible second phase could add enough capacity to bring the total to 870MW.
The project consortium partners have the following shareholdings: DONG Energy owns 50%, E.ON has 30% and Masdar has a 20% stake.
Rune Birk Nielsen
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