This month has been pivotal for the renewables industry, as Britain’s – and indeed, the world’s – largest offshore windfarm has started to produce power for the first time.
Hornsea One, situated 120km off the Yorkshire coast in the north-east of England, is a joint venture between Orsted and Global Infrastructure Partners.
It is anticipated that when it is working to full capacity, consisting of 174 Siemens Gamesa 7MW turbines, it will be almost twice the size of Walney Extension, which holds the crown as the world’s current largest offshore windfarm.
Hornsea One is expected to provide more than one million homes in the UK with renewable electricity, all through energy created by wind.
Matthew Wright, UK Managing Director at Orsted, the global leader in offshore wind, said this facility will help renewable energy compete against fossil fuel power stations for the first time.
“The ability to generate clean electricity offshore at this scale is a globally significant milestone, at a time when urgent action needs to be taken to tackle climate change,” he stated.
Mr Wright went on to say a lot has changed over the last decade, with a facility of this size being “just a dream” a few years ago.
However, advancements in the sector, efforts being made to reduce costs by those in the industry and the supply chain, and Britain’s geographical advantage have helped the UK become one of leading producers of wind energy.
As Orsted has an ambitious goal to only yield power from green sources, this project has been significant, with Mr Wright adding that it has helped to prove “large-scale renewable energy is not just an idea of the future, it’s here, right now”.
The offshore wind site, which only began to be constructed a year ago, left shore on February 5th, being shipped from Hull where most of the blades have been manufactured. The first turbine was then installed on February 10th, with employees wasting no time to ensure the site is operational.
While this is a positive start, there are still 173 turbines to be installed, and once these are in place, Hornsea One can become a huge influence in the renewable energy sector.
The turbines will continue to be fitted over the coming months, with the intention being that they will be set up by the end of summer this year. Out of the 174 monopile foundations required at the site, 172 have already been installed, showing how far this project has progressed.
The electricity produced by the turbines will travel through cables under the water via huge offshore substations, of which there will be three. It will also go to an offshore reactive compensation station, which will be a world first, prior to reaching the coast at Horseshoe Point in Lincolnshire.
From here, the electricity will journey through underground cables to the substation in North Killingholme, and then it will be able to connect to the UK National Grid to power homes throughout the country.
Britain is focussing on green energy production more and more these days, and power output from this source accounted for a third (33 per cent) of all total power in the UK last year. In addition to this, Carbon Brief’s findings showed solar power and biomass generation rose by 11 and 13 per cent in 2018 respectively.