A change is in the air for offshore wind turbines
A new offshore windfarm capable of meeting the electricity demand of well over 230,000 homes, Burbo Bank Extension, was officially opened at a ceremony in Liverpool on 17th May. The wind farm is a joint venture between DONG Energy (50%) and its partners PKA (25%) and KIRKBI A/S, parent company of the LEGO Group (25%). It is the first offshore wind farm in the world to make commercial use of the MHI Vestas V164-8.0 MW wind turbines.
Just one of these wind turbines produces more energy than the whole of Vindeby, the world's first offshore windfarm constructed by DONG Energy 25 years ago in Denmark.
Henrik Poulsen, DONG Energy Chief Executive, said: "Burbo Bank Extension showcases the rapid innovation in the offshore wind industry. Less than ten years ago at Burbo Bank, we were the first to install Siemens 3.6MW wind turbines and in this short time, the wind turbines have more than doubled in capacity. Pushing innovation in this way reduces the cost of electricity from offshore wind and will help to advance the offshore wind industry across the world. The project has also helped to develop the UK supply chain. It is the first offshore windfarm to use UK manufactured blades and the order for transition pieces was the first for Teesside factory Offshore Structures Britain."
Also commenting on the opening, Nina Schrank, Energy Campaigner at Greenpeace UK, said: "As the largest wind turbines ever begin to turn over Merseyside today, the winds of change are being felt in the UK energy sector. UK offshore wind is on track to be the cheapest form of large-scale low carbon energy by the end of this decade, with new technologies like battery storage and smart grids allowing renewables to provide most of our UK power whatever the weather.
"The offshore wind industry is at a watershed moment and the giant wind turbines at Burbo Bank are proof of huge leaps in innovation as costs have plummeted. The UK is number one in the world for offshore wind capacity now, but other countries are fast catching up. It’s vital that any new government recognises the massive economic potential of this industry and scales up their ambition, putting offshore wind at the heart of a new energy system and creating tens of thousands of jobs in the process."