Posted on October 19, 2023
Two large wind farms that are significant projects for the UK each marked milestones in the past week. While newer development projects are struggling, experts pointed to the progress of these wind farms saying they continue to demonstrate the strong contribution the industry will make to providing clean, renewable energy.
In Scotland, the Seagreen wind farm, located about 17 miles off the east-central coast was declared fully operational today, October 17. Developed by TotalEnergies and SSE Renewables, the project is being credited with a series of achievements. Chief among them is that it became the largest operating wind farm in Scotland and also the world’s deepest fixed-bottom wind farm.
It took nearly 14 years to fully develop the project including three years of construction. The Crown Estate granted the first rights for development in 2010 followed by approval from the Scottish government in 2014. Construction started in June 2020 with the first power generated two years later in August 2022. TotalEnergies, which owns 51 percent of the project and will manage it going forward, reports Seagreen represents a total investment of around $4 billion, in line with the expected capex.
The wind farm has a capacity to produce 1,075 MW of energy, which the company equates to 5 terawatt hours or enough energy to power almost 1.6 million homes annually, equivalent to two-thirds of all the homes in Scotland. The project has a total of 114 Vestas V164-10 MW turbines and notably, they are fixed to the bottom of depths of up to approximately 200 feet.
The project is being hailed as a key step as the UK moves into the next phase of offshore energy development. The UK had been the largest installed base of offshore wind energy until it was surpassed by China in 2021. Analysts calculate that the UK has nearly 14 GW of offshore energy installed while China is estimated to be exceeding 30 GW of offshore wind energy.
“Offshore wind is a resounding British success story,” said UK Energy Security Secretary Claire Coutinho celebrating the commissioning of Seagreen. “Not only has it become Scotland’s largest offshore wind farm, but it also results in the UK having the world’s five largest operational windfarms off its shores.”
Seagreen’s milestone in Scotland came just a week after the world’s largest wind farm under construction generated its first power. Located approximately 80 miles off the coast of Yorkshire in the North Sea, the Dogger Bank Wind Farm consists of three 1.2 GW phases and will take another three years to complete.
When fully installed, the project will consist of 277 turbines producing a record 3.6GW of energy. Dogger Bank A produced first power on October 10. In addition to its size, the wind farm is also the first in the world to use the massive GE Vernova Halliade-X 13MW turbines. It also became the first to energize these new turbines with the project pointing out that each rotation of the turbine’s 351-foot blades can produce enough energy to power an average home for two days. Each turbine stands just over 850 feet, which Dogger Bank points out is almost twice the size of the London Eye and the same height as New York’s iconic Rockefeller Center.
Dogger Bank is being developed and built by the UK’s SSE Renewables in a joint venture with Norway’s Equinor and Vårgrønn, which in turn is a joint venture of Eni Plenitude and HitecVision. SSE Renewables is the lead operator for the development and construction of Dogger Bank Wind Farm. Equinor will be the lead operator of the wind farm on completion for its expected operational life of around 35 years.
When the project reaches full commercial operation in 2026, they highlight it will be more than two and a half times the size of the largest offshore wind farm currently in operation.