Relying on the weather for our power is risky, but that risk is manageableby Prospect Team / January 21, 2015 / Leave a comment
The world’s largest offshore wind farm stands in the Thames Estuary—the London Array—175 vast wind turbines rising out of the sea.
“Each turbine is 3.6 megawatts and has a rotor diameter of 120m, bigger than anything you would see onshore,” says Benj Sykes, Vice President UK Wind at Dong Energy, which builtLondon Array with its partners and now maintains the array.
“There is a total of 630mw of generation sitting out there in the Thames Estuary about 20kms offshore, producing enough electricity for almost half a million homes in the UK and cutting CO2 emissions by about 900,000 tonnes a year,” he says.
The turbines are located in a shallow part of the estuary, where the bases of the turbines can become exposed at very low spring tide. The deepest waters in which the array stands are no more than 25m. The UK is blessed with a coastline that includes a large amount of shallow waters, which, Sykes points out, makes Britain especially well suited to the installation of offshore wind turbines.
“One of the things that Dong Energy is very focused on is reducing the cost of electricity from offshore wind,” says Sykes. “And picking really good sites that have really good wind resource but also stand in relatively shallow waters is a very important part of that drive to reduce costs and to reduce the demand on consumers.”
The wind farm is operated out of Ramsgate, in Kent, where London Array has its operations base. The array is owned jointly by a consortium including E.ON, Masdar and CDPQ, the Canadian pension f…