World’s largest offshore wind farm gets go ahead

Dong Energy’s Hornsea Project Two should add 1.8GW to Britain's offshore wind capacity.
Published: Mon 22 Aug 2016

Offshore wind farms off the British coast have been steadily growing in size. The latest to get the go ahead is the Hornsea Project Two development, which will have a capacity of 1,800MW. Together with the adjacent 1,200MW Hornsea Project One, for which permission has already been granted, the two will have a combined capacity of 3GW. Both individually and together these are set to be the largest offshore wind farms in the world – and of similar capacity to the proposed Hinckley C nuclear facility.

The Development Consent Order covers the entire project including the turbines, foundations, offshore and onshore substations, array cables and export cables.

Previously the largest offshore wind developments were the 1,200MW Creyke Beck farms, with a total capacity of 2.4GW, for which the consent was given last year. [Engerati-Offshore Windfarms Set To Reach New Levels]

Hornsea Project Two

Hornsea Project Two is to be located 89km off the Yorkshire coast in the North Sea, and will consist of up to 300 turbines. Under development by DONG Energy subsidiary SMartWind, the windfarm should have the potential to meet the annual electricity needs of approximately 1.6 million British homes.

“Development consent for Hornsea Project Two is very welcome and provides us with another exciting development opportunity in offshore wind,” said Brent Cheshire, DONG Energy’s UK country chairman. “Hornsea Project Two is a huge potential infrastructure project. A project of this size will help in our efforts to continue reducing the cost of electricity from offshore wind.”

DONG Energy has committed to installing 6.5GW of offshore wind and achieving an LCOE of €100/MWh by 2020 – the former which the company is set to achieve and the latter which already has been achieved.

While the final investment decision is yet to be made, DONG Energy clearly isn’t fazed by the Brexit. While the company already has invested £6 billion in the UK, Cheshire notes that the project “shows our commitment to investing in the UK.”

DONG Energy made the final investment decision on Hornsea Project One in February and it is expected to be commissioned in 2020. No timeline has been specified for Hornsea Project Two, with the development consent order now subject to review.

DONG Energy owns the rights to the entire Hornsea zone, which extends from 31km to 190km off the Yorkshire coast. If Hornsea Projects Three and Four were to go ahead, up to 4GW of offshore wind could be produced in an area of more than twice the size of Greater London.

Offshore wind for UK

Britain has become a leader in offshore wind. With these developments the technology is on course to meet 10% of the country’s electricity demand with 10GW of installed capacity by 2020.

In the last Autumn Statement £730 million of financial support was committed to offshore wind and other less established renewable technologies. [Engerati-Offshore Wind Gets Boost In UK]

With falling costs, offshore wind is on course to becoming competitive with new nuclear and gas. A further 10GW could be installed during the 2020s, according to the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy.

Through the Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult, Britain is also at the forefront of R&D on offshore wind and other marine renewables. [Engerati-Offshore Renewables – From Innovation To Commercialization]

Offshore wind is also seen as offering a significant source of both employment and investment, in particular on the east coast of Britain. A recent study for the Offshore Wind Industry Council estimates that more than 600 local companies are already active in the offshore wind industry. These include eight coastal manufacturing facilities producing large scale components that cannot be cost-effectively transported by road, with a further two due to start production within 18 months. With the further developments in the pipeline, further investment and industrialisation is anticipated in the supply chain.

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