World's first offshore wind farm on its last turn

09.02.2016 10:00

DONG Energy is preparing the dismantling of Vindeby offshore wind farm.


In the summer of 1991, 11 small wind turbines supplied the first offshore wind energy to the Danish power grid. It marked the beginning of an industrial growth adventure which has positioned Denmark as the world leader in constructing and operating offshore wind turbines. The wind turbines are located off the coast of Vindeby, a village on the island of Lolland, after which Vindeby offshore wind farm is named.


From pioneering work to billion-euro industry

It was pioneers from the former Elkraft power company who experimented with placing wind turbines in the low waters. Today, Elkraft is a part of DONG Energy – the company having built most offshore wind farms in the world – and whose strategy is to supply green electricity to 16 million Europeans by 2020.
Since the birth of Vindeby, offshore wind turbines have become proper power stations where one of the largest turbines today produces more power than the entire Vindeby offshore wind farm. The 111 wind turbines on Anholt offshore wind farm supply green energy corresponding to the annual power consumption of 400,000 Danish households, which is 181 times more than the around 2,200 households which Vindeby can supply with energy. Delivering green energy to approx. one million UK homes, DONG Energy's future offshore wind farm, Hornsea Project One, will be the world's largest.


"Vindeby was the humble beginning of a Danish industry which today has ap-prox. 30,000 employees, revenue of approx. DKK 90bn and exports to the tune of DKK 60bn. But after 25 years of operation, the Vindeby turbines are worn down, and we're therefore preparing to retire the wind farm," says Leif Winther, who is responsible for DONG Energy's Danish offshore wind farms.


Inviting dialogue

Prior to the dismantling, DONG Energy invites dialogue on the use of the infra-structure built up around the park:


Leif Winther said: "There are cables with an associated substation onshore, and it might be interesting for companies interested in renewable energy. We would like to enter into dialogue with them prior to dismantling the wind farm." He also sees other perspectives in the dismantling of Vindeby:


"In future, other and much larger offshore wind farms will also have to be taken down. How to do that most efficiently and with the greatest possible considera-tion for the environment is still uncharted territory. In this context, Danish com-panies can perhaps get a head start, just as they did when we started the ex-pansion of wind power."