by Jerome a Paris
Thu Jul 1st, 2010 at 07:47:52 AM EST
THANET'S LAST TURBINE INSTALLED: WORLD'S LARGEST OFFSHORE WIND FARM ALMOST READY
The final turbine at the Thanet Offshore Wind Farm in the United Kingdom has been put in its place. When construction is complete at the end of the summer, Thanet will be the world's largest operating offshore wind farm.
Located 12 kilometers off the Foreness Point, the most eastern point of Kent, England, Thanet is composed 100 3-megawatt wind turbines. When operating at full capacity, the offshore wind farm will be able to provide 240,000 English households with power.
This came on the heels of this:
Denmark Inaugurates World's Largest Offshore Wind Farm - 209 MW Horns Rev 2 (17 September 2009)
The world has a new largest offshore wind farm: The 209 MW Horns Rev 2 project, located 30 kilometers off the west coast of Jutland in the North Sea, was inaugurated today by Denmark's Crown Prince Frederik. Constructed by DONG Energy, the project consists of 91 Siemens turbines and is expected to produce about 800 GWh of electricity per year -- enough for 200,000 households.
That project replaced the Nysted wind farm as the largest offshore project; Nysted was built in 2003 as one of two demonstrator projects promoted by the Danish government (the other being Horns Rev 1), and, at 165MW, kept that title for a long time.
Part of the Wind power series
front-paged with picture edit by afew
But between the two events, two other large wind farms were completed - Gunfleet Sands at 172 MW (in June), and Robin Rigg at 180 MW (in April), underlining how the industry is now suddenly moving from the prototype/R&D phase to large scale industrialization.
This year will see the first commercial German offshore wind farm (Baltic I), shortly after the inauguration of the test Alpha Ventus project, and in that country like in the UK, the next few years are going to see massive build up, with records likely to be shattered on a regular basis.
Beyond Thanet and its 300MW, the next record holder is likely to be Greater Gabbard, at 504 MW, expected to be completed next year, and then the 630 MW London Array the following year. Germany has allotted licenses mainly for 400 MW projects, so no individual records to be found there, but the cumulative numbers are going to start looking quite impressive rather quickly. It took 18 years for the first GW to be built offshore, 18 months for the second one, and this year alone will see that much being built, with multiples of that to follow in the coming years.
But all of this will show that it is much easier to go from a 1% market share to 10% one than from 0.1% to 1%, and it will disprove all those who say that wind will never have the scale required to be a meaningful part of our energy future. It's happening now, on a daily basis.