The world’s largest offshore wind power farm, Walney Farm, is opening off the coast of Cumbria in the UK today.
The £1.2-billion ($1.9-billion), 367.2-MW offshore wind farm includes over 100 wind turbines and can produce power for up to 320,000 UK homes. (Note: it doesn’t compare to the 1,000-MW offshore wind farm I wrote about on Tuesday, the London Array, which just had its first two wind turbines installed… but give Walney Farm its 15 minutes of fame.)
The wind farm is composed of two projects, Walney 1 and Walney 2 (surprise, surprise), and to be more specific, is off Barrow-in-Furness.
Aside from being the largest in the world, this is also the fastest-built and cheapest offshore wind farm in place today, according to the British power company SSE and Denmark’s Dong Energy. And it is also the first wind project in the UK that was built with money from foreign, institutional investors.
“OPW – a consortium of the Dutch pension fund PGGM and the energy investment fund Ampere – took a 24.8% stake in the project in December 2010, joining majority owner Dong Energy (50.1%) and SSE (25.1%),” the UK’s Guardian reports.
UK’s New Energy Secretary, Ed Davey, Opening Wind Farm
The UK’s new energy secretary, Liberal Democrat MP Ed Davey, is very happy to be opening the wind farm today and is more than happy with the UK’s strong offshore wind industry. Here are some of Davey’s comments:
“Britain has a lot to be proud of in our growing offshore wind sector. Our island’s tremendous natural resource, our research base and a proud history of engineering make this the No 1 destination for investment in offshore wind.
“And Walney is the newest, biggest and fastest-built jewel in that crown, providing clean power for hundreds of thousands of households.
“Opening Walney during my first week in office lets me underline my commitment to continuing the coalition’s work to make this sector a success story for the British economy, not least with the innovation it is driving and the employment it is creating.”
Not a bad event to walk into office on.
Wind Controversy in the UK
Like the US, the UK’s got a large fraction of conservative politicians who just can’t join the crowd and see the many benefits of clean energy. Over the past weekend, 100 Conservative MPs actually sent a letter to British Prime Minister David Cameron urging that renewable energy subsidies be cut (no mention of fossil fuel subsidies). The focus was on onshore wind turbines that they think are unpleasant to look at. (Not sure how “unpleasant to look at” can compare with “kill people and destroy our climate,” which still-subsidized fossil fuels do, but I guess I’m not a conservative politician.
I'm the director of CleanTechnica, the most popular clean energy website in the world, and Planetsave, a leading green and science news site. I've been covering green news of various sorts since 2008, and I've been especially focused on solar energy, electric vehicles, bicycling, and wind energy for the past few years. You can also find my work on Scientific American, Reuters, Think Progress, GE's ecomagination site, several sites in the Important Media network, & many other places. To connect on some of your favorite social networks, go to zacharyshahan.com or click on some of the links below.