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World’s largest offshore wind farm opens off Kent coast

Oilfield Technology,

Vattenfall will inaugurate Thanet offshore wind farm today, the world’s largest offshore wind farm. Only some two years after the inauguration of the 48 turbine 110 MW Lillgrund wind farm in the Sound between Sweden and Denmark in June 2008, Vattenfall is now launching a new 100 turbine 300 MW offshore wind farm in the Channel, an investment of close to £ 900 million (SEK 10 billion).

The 100 turbines should be capable of generating enough electricity to power 240,000 homes. The Thanet wind farm will be continually expanded over the next four years, with a total of 341 turbines planned for the site.

This is an expression not only of the rapid technological development in offshore wind power, but also of Vattenfall’s development strategy, where the UK is seen as one of the main future markets for offshore wind power.

In the UK there is a broad political unity, formally agreed in 2008, about the plans for sea-based wind power, and the windy islands provide a greater potential than any other European country.

When Vattenfall bought Thanet, the project already had all necessary licenses and contracts, but the owners were close to bankruptcy. The project was a key part of ‘round 2’ in the British wind power programme, and it was seen as politically crucial that it came out successfully.

Thanet lies in sight of Kentish flats, another offshore wind farm consisting of 30 turbines owned by Vattenfall, and the two organisations have been merged into one.

Energy secretary Chris Huhne welcomed the new wind farm saying,

“We are in a unique position to become a world leader in this industry.

"I know that there is still more to do to bring forward the large sums of investment we want to see in low-carbon energy in the UK, and we as a government are committed to playing our part."

Other projects

The company is building capacity and competence for the next big step; the development of the East Anglia Array, a gigantic offshore wind farm area in the North Sea off the east coast of England, granted jointly to Vattenfall and ScottishPower Renewables as part of the Crown Estate’s Round 3 offshore wind farm programme. Early investigations suggest that East Anglia has the potential to achieve a capacity of approximately 7200 MW with 10 MW turbines.

Meanwhile Vattenfall is building the Ormonde Offshore Wind Farm in the Irish Sea, which will comprise 30 5 MW turbines.

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