MHI Vestas Offshore Wind has installed the first of 40 V164-8.0 MW turbines and power is now being exported to the National Grid – marking an important milestone for the 659MW project.
A further 47 Siemens Gamesa turbines will complete the 87-turbine wind farm, which will be capable of generating enough clean energy to meet the annual electricity demands of more than half a million UK homes.
Once fully commissioned, Walney Extension will leapfrog London Array to become the world's largest operational offshore wind farm.
Andrew Cotterell, Walney Extension Programme Director at DONG Energy, said:
"We are delighted to have passed such an important milestone for the project. Exporting first power to the grid on schedule is the culmination of extensive on-shore and off-shore works and is testament to the hard work of everyone involved. In general, construction is progressing well to bring this record-breaking project online."
Construction of the project is being co-ordinated from a base at the Port of Barrow, which already hosts the operating and maintenance teams for three other DONG Energy offshore windfarms, Barrow, Walney and West of Duddon Sands.
As part of DONG Energy's commitment to the region, a £15million Walney Extension community fund has been set up to support local projects and organisations. Each year, around £600,000 will be made available for the expected 25-year lifetime of the wind farm, with £100,000 of this ring-fenced for a 'Skills Fund' to promote education and support local students.
The fund is being administered by national charity GrantScape. For further details of how to apply for the next round, please visit GrantScape's website www.grantscape.org.uk or call 01908 247634.
Facts about Walney Extension Offshore Wind Farm
- Project is 100% owned by DONG Energy
- Located in the Irish Sea - approximately 19km from the Walney Island coast in Cumbria
- Covers an area of 145km2
Total capacity of 659MW – capable of powering more than half a million UK homes.