Wednesday saw the opening of the Burbo Bank Extension Offshore Wind Farm, a 258 megawatt offshore wind project which is the first project so far to make use of the world’s most powerful wind turbines, Vestas 8 MW turbines.
All the way back in February of 2014, Vestas announced that it would partner with Danish wind energy giant DONG Energy to provide its new 8 megawatt (MW) wind turbines to the Burbo Bank Extension. The project is an unusual one, as the original Burbo Bank Offshore Wind Farm was only 90 MW, made up of 25 much smaller and more conventional 3.6 MW wind turbines. The Extension, therefore, dwarfs the original installation considerably, with 32 of these new 8 MW wind turbines, bringing the total installation up to 348 MW.
DONG Energy installed the first of the 8 MW behemoths back in September of last year, and by November the turbines were already beginning to generate power, with the final turbines installed in December.
On Wednesday, representatives from all companies involved gathered to mark the official opening of the project. The wind farm is a joint venture between DONG Energy (50%) and partners PKA (25%) and KIRKBI A/S, parent company of the LEGO Group (25%). MHI Vestas representatives were also in attendance.
“Burbo Bank Extension showcases the rapid innovation in the offshore wind industry,” said Henrik Poulsen, DONG Energy Chief Executive Officer. “Less than ten years ago at Burbo Bank, we were the first to install Siemens 3.6MW wind turbines and in this short time, the wind turbines have more than doubled in capacity. Pushing innovation in this way reduces the cost of electricity from offshore wind and will help to advance the offshore wind industry across the world.”
“The inauguration of Burbo Bank Extension represents a noteworthy milestone in the history of MHI Vestas and our stakeholders,” added CEO of MHI Vestas, Jens Tommerup. “We are extremely proud to supply 32 of our 8 MW turbines to DONG Energy and help provide renewable energy for more than 230,000 UK homes.”
The completion of the project was also highlighted and praised by RenewableUK, the wind energy trade body for the UK.
“This game-changing project is a testament to the offshore wind industry’s strong commitment to relentless innovation — including the state-of-the-art turbine blades which were designed, tested and made on the Isle of Wight, and the huge transition pieces built in Teesside,” said RenewableUK’s Executive Director Emma Pinchbeck. “It’s great to see a variety of places in the UK benefitting from offshore wind, as the turbines were assembled in Belfast Harbour.
“Today’s turbines are the most efficient ever — driving down the cost of electricity for consumers.”