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13th February 2019, Hull

Hornsea One – wind power at the next level

The new wind farm is to cover an area of 407 square metres on its completion. © Siemens Gamesa

The new wind farm is to cover an area of 407 square kilometres on its completion. © Siemens Gamesa

What will eventually be the world’s largest wind farm – pushing the industry to a new scale on a par with conventional fossil fuel-fired power stations – is scheduled to make its first contribution to the UK’s electricity grid this week.

Set to cover an area of 407 square kilometres on its completion, Hornsea One will be five times the size of the nearby city of Hull, with its 174 turbines – each taller than London’s Gherkin building – providing 1.2GW of capacity, which is sufficient to power a million homes.

The turbines for the new wind farm are being built and shipped from the Siemens Gamesa factory in Hull – part of a network of UK-based suppliers that has sprung up around the growing sector. The first two phases will use 7MW turbines, but the latter stages could use the latest 10MW-plus models.

About half of the components for the project, a 50/50 joint venture between Danish developer Ørsted AS and the US investment fund Global Infrastructure Partners, are being made in the UK.

“The UK has enough wind and shallow enough seabeds to power most of Europe,” says Henrik Poulsen, Ørsted CEO. “On a lesser scale, new wind farms could make up for cancelled UK nuclear power stations.”

The turbines for the new wind farm are being built and shipped from the Siemens Gamesa factory in Hull. © Siemens Gamesa

The turbines for the new wind farm are being built and shipped from the Siemens Gamesa factory in Hull. © Siemens Gamesa

“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,” added Matthew Wright, UK managing director of Ørsted.

Hornsea One is only the first of four planned in the area, with a green light and subsidies already awarded to a second stage due for completion in the early 2020s.

The UK and Germany installed 85% of new offshore wind power capacity in the EU last year, according to industry data. The average power rating of the turbines is getting bigger too, up 15% in 2018.

Like other international energy companies, Ørsted has put in place contingency planning in event of a no-deal Brexit – but the hope is that will not come to pass.

“We want a Brexit deal that will facilitate an orderly transition out of the union,” Poulsen said, in an interview with The Guardian.

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