World's largest offshore wind farm Walney Extension swings into action for energy

World's largest offshore wind farm Walney Extension swings into action for energy
Walney Extension Offshore Wind Farm. Credit: Walney Extension

The world's largest offshore windfarm has officially opened. The project commanding the Numero Uno status is the Walney Extension. An official inauguration was marked as September 6, and it now means that the Walney Extension overtakes the London Array as the world's largest offshore wind farm.

How large? Stats say the farm, located in the Irish Sea off the Walney Island coast in Cumbria, covers an area of around 145 sq km (55 square miles). Project watchers are talking electricity for nearly 600,000 UK homes. It's especially being touted as having been built on time and on budget.

It's also being described as a "659-megawatt ." The Danish company Orsted, PKA and PFA are the names behind this project.

According to Reuters, "Walney Extension is a shared-ownership project between Orsted (50 percent) and two Danish pension funds - PFA and PKA (25 percent each)."

Reports referred to the installation of 87 wind turbines from two different manufacturers. The Engineer walked readers through those behind the 87 turbines —40 MHI Vestas 8MW turbines and 47 Siemens Gamesa 7MW turbines, with blades manufactured in Hull and the Isle of Wight.

Large and powerful turbines are project highlights. The Guardian said "The project is a sign of how dramatically wind technology has progressed in the past five years since the previous biggest, the London Array, was finished. The new windfarm uses less than half the number of turbines but is more powerful."

Adam Vaughan in The Guardian quoted Matthew Wright, the UK managing director of Danish energy firm Ørsted, who said, "– bigger turbines, with fewer positions and a bit further out – is really the shape of projects going forward."

Life span? Power Technology said the wind farm will have a life span of approximately 25 years.

The Walney Extension promotional video cited the UK as "the global leader in offshore wind." A Reuters report similarly stated that "Britain is the world's largest offshore wind market, hosting 36 percent of globally installed offshore wind capacity, data from the Global Wind Energy Council showed."

Actually, global offshore rankings looked like this, from The Global Wind Energy Council, which is the international trade association for the wind power industry:

"At the end of 2017, nearly 84% (15,780MW) of all offshore installations were located in the waters off the coast of eleven European countries. The remaining 16% is located largely in China, followed by Vietnam, Japan, South Korea, the United States and Taiwan.

"The UK is the world's largest offshore wind market and accounts for just over 36% of installed capacity, followed by Germany in the second spot with 28.5%. China comes third in the global offshore rankings with just under 15%. Denmark now accounts for 6.8%, the Netherlands 5.9%, Belgium 4.7% and Sweden 1.1%. Other markets including Vietnam, Finland, Japan, South Korea, the US, Ireland, Taiwan, Spain, Norway and France make up the balance of the market."

Talking to Reuters in an interview, Matthew Wright, Orsted UK managing director, offered his reasons for why the UK is prominent for offshore success. He said it was a combination "of strong wind speeds and shallow waters in the North Sea and Irish Sea as well as continued support from the government."

This marks Orsted's 11th offshore farm in the UK.

Explore further

Walney offshore wind farm is world's biggest (for now)

More information:

© 2018 Tech Xplore

Citation: World's largest offshore wind farm Walney Extension swings into action for energy (2018, September 8) retrieved 22 September 2019 from
This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.

Feedback to editors

User comments

Sep 08, 2018
"It's especially being touted as having been built on time and on budget."

Yeah...try that with a nuclear powerplant. *cough* Hinkley Point C *cough*

Sep 08, 2018
And Vogtle.

Sep 09, 2018
Wind power is now generally cheaper than nuclear. See


"... the price of offshore wind energy has dropped by half in less than two years. By the 2020s, it will be as cheap or cheaper than any other form of power generation. It's just become much cheaper than nuclear, even taking into account the additional costs associated with the wind's intermittency. And in any case, this is less of an issue at sea where the winds are more constant..."

I personally have no axe to grind against nuclear but, at least for now, wind power seems better purely for economic reasons i.e. forgetting about safety.

Sep 09, 2018
Sorry; my above quote didn't come from that weblink but this one;


I did put the above weblink as a second weblink I quoted in my above post but for some reason it seems to me it was automatically edited out. Is it against the rules to post more than one weblink in the same post here?

Sep 09, 2018
"Cheaper" except "batteries not included" neither coal/gas-fired backup plants nor integration costs.
"UK summer 'wind drought' puts green revolution into reverse" - Aug 27, 2018
"What would it cost to power the UK for the next 60 years?"
"Wind Power: World's Greatest Joke – UK Left Powerless During the 'Big Calm'" - Jun 2018
"Thousands of bats are killed by wind turbines every year because they are drawn to the blinking red lights used to ward off aircrafts"
"Wind turbines kill 80,000 bats a year in the UK, and 600,000 in the USA"

Sep 09, 2018
Good summary from theguardian article: Experts also said that the way solar highs coincided with wind lows showed that both technologies were needed in the switch to green energy. Wind power generation is well ahead of solar in Europe.

How much renewable energy does the UK have?
Renewables – counting wind, solar, hydro and biomass – provided 29.3% of electricity last year, up from 24.5% in 2016. Exactly half of that came from wind power, and most of that it is still onshore despite the huge expansion of offshore windfarms in recent years. Solar provided just over 10% of renewable electricity supply.

In contrast, the US only has 17% renewable energy in 2017.

Sep 09, 2018
How much renewable energy does the UK have?
Renewables – counting wind, solar, hydro and biomass – provided 29.3% of electricity last year,

I would say that's the bad part of the news. We really must do a lot better than that and as soon as possible. There is no doubt in my mind that we can and will eventually go 100% carbon-nutruel and completely cost-effectively especially with the high-energy-density ultra-cheap magnesium-sulfur batteries and also flow-batteries gradually being developed that use absolutely no rare-earth elements but only use cheap common non-toxic materials (+ the possibility of supergrid); the only real problem is how soon.

Sep 09, 2018
RE cultists never include "batteries", and never talk how wind/solar have failed miserably at reducing emissions even after reaching an amazing milestone of a terawatt(1000 gigawatts) of installed-capacity globally at cost of trillions of dollars and huge ecological impacts, and are causing the electricity prices to skyrocket everywhere.
"Battery storage needed to convert solar generation equal to a year of Hinkley nuclear generation to baseload: $700 billion, about 28 times the ~$25 billion cost of the Hinkley plant."

"Batteries and demand flexibility do not substitute for firm low-carbon resources" - Sep 6, 2018
"The real news is that solar and wind are so inferior that even some of the richest companies on Earth can't power themselves through 100-percent renewable energy."

Sep 09, 2018
Willie wants to buy electricity from Hinkley or Votgle, where the prices are three to four times what wind or PV power cost.

Then,..there is that nasty waste which we cannot even store safely , . .

Sep 09, 2018
Far Better, Solar Panels on the Oceans. No need to clean them up. Automatic Wash !

Sep 10, 2018
"...where the prices are three to four times what wind or PV power cost..."
By saying wind/wind is cheap, hiding the fact "batteries not included", it's the same as selling an electric car cheaper than a conventional one, without batteries, where the batteries is one of most expensive components of the car, and dishonestly not informing the innocent buyer.
"Then,..there is that nasty waste which we cannot even store safely , . ."
Store it in my backyard. It emits less radiation than a bunch of bananas, it's safer than mercury(teratogen) in coal ashes and arsenides and other chemical carcinogens present in solar panels that never lose their toxicity with time.

Sep 10, 2018
Vogtle went through two increases since the last estimate of operating costs, at 15 cents/kWh wholesale!!

Wind plus storage is at four cents/kWh, and has no problems with intensely-radioactive waste, and does not need a company of highly-trained engineers to keep it from killing us.

Sep 10, 2018
"Wind...has no problems with intensely-radioactive waste..."
"It's now also recognised by UNSCEAR that wind and solar energy are resulting in significant radiation exposure."
Per power installed, radiation exposure form wind and solar is far higher.
"The solar and wind fuel cycles emit considerably more radiation (mainly from mining rare earth metals) than the nuclear fuel cycle"
"Exposure to radiation kills more people working in the solar industry than in nuclear power."
"Surprisingly, the larger exposures due to the installation of electrical power plants are caused by the installation of solar and wind plants, which results from the use of rare earth minerals and estimates of occupational exposures for their mining."

Sep 11, 2018
"Cheaper" except "batteries not included"

You mean as opposed to:
"cleanup and pürotection of waste for tens of thousands of years not included"
"damages due to climate change not included"

I think batteries are WAY cheaper than either of those.

Sep 12, 2018
"Cheaper" except "batteries not included"

You mean as opposed to:
"cleanup and purotection of waste for tens of thousands of years not included"
"damages due to climate change not included"

I think batteries are WAY cheaper than either of those.
" antialias_physorg

You are wrong about the first thing there but right about the second thing.

The problem of nuclear waste is often massively exaggerated and usually with some paranoia; it is actually a trivial task to find a place to bury it where there is impervious rock and where it wouldn't surface for a billion years.

However, the economic costs of man made global warming are likely to dwarf that of any battery usage even with our current batteries i.e. without any more improvements to our current batteries.
But the battery technology is improving all the time and it would be just a matter of time before we have the much promised efficient cheap non-toxic flow-batteries and/or magnesium-sulfur batteries.

Sep 12, 2018
"...damages due to climate change not included..."
"Energy storage is considered a green technology. But it actually increases carbon emissions." - Apr 2018
"Battery Storage Could Boost Coal Consumption" - Feb 2018
"The spiralling environmental cost of our lithium battery addiction" - Aug 2018
"Batteries are also not a solution."
"The $2.5 trillion reason we can't rely on batteries to clean up the grid" - Jul 2018

Sep 12, 2018
While Willie tells us what a terrible source of power our clean sources are, mine have been generating clean power for over three years, having paid off. No noise, no stink, no emissions, no toxic waste.

They need lots of help at Fukushima and WIPP, Willie, why not do something useful?

Sep 13, 2018
"...mine have been generating clean power for over three years,..."
"Renewables always have to be paired with Fossil Fuel generators! It's equivalent with promoting that having a car and a motor bike is cheaper than just having a car. You still need the car when it is raining or when you have more than one passenger."
"Solar is so cheap when your'e using other people's money."

"Solar/wind are only "cheap" if you ignore subsidies + required natgas plants (and their CO2) + upgrade to grid"
"There's no justification for Wind or solar using engineering or economics. The only reason to use wind or solar is political. To appease environmentalists. Who don't understand the damage that RE does. Kind of a lose- lose situation."

Sep 13, 2018
Willie has never even been in a nuclear powerplant, yet can paste in all that propaganda.

Many of us with some experience have other opinions.

Sep 14, 2018
gskam is just a charlatan engineer, Radiophobic Chicken.
Fact: by swimming back and forth uninterruptedly in a spent fuel pool, a swimmer will surely die from fatigue/drown rather than radiation.
Much more people have died from installing rooftop solar panels or performing maintenance on wind turbines, mainly when the oil for lubrication catches fire, than Chernobyl/Fukushima, or swimming in nuclear spent fuel pools.

Sep 19, 2018
From your own XKCD link, "Swimming to the bottom, touching your elbows to a fresh fuel canister, and immediately swimming back up would probably be enough to kill you."

Did you read further in that link about the diver that picked up an innocuous-looking piece of tubing from the bottom of a pool in the Leibstadt nuclear reactor in Switzerland? It's a great read. He could have died.

Sep 20, 2018
Dear Radiophobics:
Inside a microwave oven, according to some experts, the microwave radiation can reach "unimaginable" levels enough to kill you in few seconds, so please do not put your head inside a microwave oven.
Be careful!

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more