The first wind turbine has been installed at the site of what will be the world’s largest offshore wind farm – and it has already begun sending power to the UK grid.
The plan is to install a total of 277 wind turbines at the Dogger Bank Wind Farm, located about 130 kilometres off the north-east coast of England. Once fully operational in 2026, the wind farm is expected to power more than six million UK homes.
The first turbine at the site is a GE Haliade-X turbine with spinning blade tips reaching 260 metres above sea level – about the same height as New York City’s Rockefeller Center. The power it generates flows through an array of high-voltage direct current cables that connects to the coast of north-eastern England.
Each of the mammoth wind turbines is being installed by the Voltaire – the world’s largest jack-up installation vessel – which itself stands taller than the Eiffel Tower when it plants its four legs on the seafloor.
The Dogger Bank project is moving forward, but a recent UK government clean energy auction did not award any new offshore wind farm contracts after developers argued that the electricity generation prices were too low.
Meanwhile, UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has announced plans to weaken and delay the UK’s net-zero emissions plans, despite the country having been the first to establish legally binding carbon budgets. The UK has also continued to issue new North Sea oil and gas licences even as its fossil fuel industry shrinks.