The giants of clean energy

 

One 8MW turbine at Burbo Bank Extension, in front of 3.6MW turbines at B...

An 8MW Vestas turbine stands in front of the smaller 3.6MW models at the Burbo Bank Extension offshore wind farm. Photo credit: DONG Energy.

 

By Anders Lorenzen

In the sphere of clean energy we often hear about the advances in solar, but not often enough do we hear about the rapid breakthroughs in wind power.

Last month, the first offshore wind power project to use Vestas giant new 8MW wind turbine started to generate power.

Denmark dominates the project

At a ceremony in Liverpool, UK the Burbo Bank offshore wind farm was officially opened. The wind farm, which will deliver clean electricity to 230,000 households, is a joint project between DONG Energy, PKA and Kirkbi A/S. While the project is based in the UK it has Denmark written all over it. It is Denmark’s Dong Energy, the world’s leading installer of offshore wind who is behind the project. PKA is a partner of DONG Energy and a Danish Pension Fund. Kirkby A/S is a parent company of probably the largest toy company in the world, the Lego Group. And of course, the turbines are provided by the world’s largest wind turbine manufacturer, Denmark’s Vestas.

Enormous turbines

To give an idea of the scale of the turbines; just one produces more electricity than the entirety of the world’s very first offshore wind farm, Vindeby, which was built in Denmark 25 years ago. This alone showcases just how far the offshore wind power industry has come. The turbine is taller than London’s iconic Gherkin building. Its 80m blades are equivalent to nine London double decker busses, and each weighs 35 tonnes and sweeps an area of 21,124 m2 which is larger than the London Eye. Just one single rotation of one of the 32 turbines will power a home for 29 hours. Which means powering a home for a 24 hour period can be as quick as a second.

And this is just the beginning as wind power innovators are already talking about being able to scale offshore wind turbines up to between 10MW and 14MW. And when offshore wind power starts to take a foothold in large economies outside Europe, the scale and pace of acceleration will only increase.

UK’s job market adopts to offshore wind

There are signs that the UK jobs market are starting to adapt to the offshore wind landscape, with the Burbo Bank Extension being the first to use UK manufactured blades. The order for transition pieces was the first for Teesside factory Offshore Structures Britain, while the blades have been manufactured at Vestas Isle of Wight factory.

With the inauguration of the Burbo Bank Extension, it becomes the 9th DONG Energy-owned wind farm in the UK and the company is quickly becoming one of the key players in the UK energy market.

 

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