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World’s largest offshore wind farm starts construction

The world’s soon to be (2020) largest offshore wind farm has begun construction. The project, being developed by the largest offshore wind power developer – Ørsted – is located 74.5 miles off the coast of Yorkshire, UK.

The wind farm is named Hornsea Project One. Hornsea Project Two will follow a few years later, and Hornsea Project Three is in early planning stages.

The 1.2GW project will be constructed of 174 7.0MW turbines. The turbine model being installed – SWT-7.0-154 (PDF) – is manufactured by Siemens. The site will generate 4.1TWh of electricity per year.

According to Ørsted, an 8MW turbine – the MH1 by Vestas – generates enough electricity in one revolution of the turbine blades to power a house for 29 hours. Production isn’t necessarily proportional with turbine size, but if it just happened to be – these 7MW units will generate 25 hours of electricity with a single rotation.

The individual blades are 75 meters long and the total area covered when the blades spin is, 18,600m2 (4.6 acres).

The project is being built by two ships. The first is what was (and might still be) ‘the most powerful heavy-life jack up vessel.’ The ship – Innovation – has a load capacity of 8,000 tons and can install in waters up to a 65 meter depth.

The ship can carry up to four ‘monopiles’ at a time. Each monopile is 65m (213ft) tall and weights 800 tons. They’re 8.1m (26.5ft) across. A monopile is the hardware that is stuck into the seabed.

It is this hardware specifically being installed, the first of which is the head image, that is being celebrated by Ørsted on their Twitter feed.

The second ship, built by A2SEA, is named the Sea Installer. It carries the turbines and blades to the site. It can handle up to four of the 7MW turbines at once.

Wikipedia has a nice write-up on the overall project – plus Hornsea II and III. Of particular interest is the volume and cost of undersea cables needed to build this project out. For instance,

‘In late 2016 JDR Cables was contracted to supply 242 kilometres (150 mi) of inter-array subsea power cables for the wind farm;Nexans was awarded a contract for 139 kilometres (86 mi) of inter-array cables.’

These cables noted here don’t include the cables going from the farm to the coast.

Currently, the world’s largest off shore wind farm is called the London Array. The project is 630MW. The world’s largest wind project is the Gansu Wind Farm Project in China. The project has a current capacity of 8GW(!), with a planned capacity of 20GW.

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