Yet one more ultra-large offshore wind farm will be constructed this year. Danish offshore wind power supplier Orsted announced that the Britain-based Hornsea 2 offshore wind farm has generated its first electricity. Once Hornsea 2 kicks off total operation in 2022, it will become the largest offshore wind farm in the world and supply electricity for more than 1.3 million households in Britain.
Situated 89 km from Britain’s east coast, Hornsea 2 occupies an area of 462 km2, leverages 165 8 MW wind turbines manufactured by Siemens Gamesa and has a total installed capacity of 1,386 MW (about 1.3 GW). Orstead began installing offshore substations and a reactive compensation station in October 2021, thereby enabling it to conduct power generation tests.
Hornsea 2 represents the second phase of the Hornsea projects. Its sister project, the Hornsea 1 offshore wind farm, was the largest wind farm in the world that kicked off power generation in 2020. Hornsea 1 consists of 174 wind turbines and has a capacity of 1.2 GW, enough for more than one million households. Orsted indicates that Hornsea 1 and 2 wind farms provide sufficient electricity for about 2.3 million households.
After the completion of Hornsea 2, the generated electricity will pass through 373 km of submarine power cables to offshore substations and reactive compensation stations, after which the electricity will have to travel approximately the same distance once again, spanning a 390 km long submarine power cable and 40 km of onshore power cable, which is connected to an onshore substation in Killingholme at the end.
Among most representative wind farms in Britain, the Hornsea wind farms will welcome yet another part in a trilogy of sorts. The Hornsea 3 wind farm, which will boast a capacity of 2.3 GW, received developmental approval in 2020. Hornsea 3 entails the installation of 231 offshore wind turbines that occupy 696 km2 of area offshore, while Hornsea 4 remains in the planning stage for now.
“[W]e have the finishing line in sight as we install the remaining turbines and continue testing, commissioning, and energising our wind farm into the new year”, says Patrick Harnett, Programme Director for Hornsea 2. “A huge well done to everyone who has worked through the pandemic to keep the project on track.”
Although Hornsea is currently the world’s largest offshore wind farm, the keyword is “currently”, as the rapid development of wind power technology means global rankings have been shifting nonstop within the past few years. For instance, prior to Hornsea 1, the 714 MW East Anglia held the title as the world’s largest offshore wind farm. Prior to that, the London Array, which kicked off operations in 2013, reigned supreme thanks to its 630 MW capacity. In any case, the largest offshore wind farms have all been based in Britain.
The UK also broke grounds on several new wind farms recently, with one such example being Creyke Beck A, which is the first phase of the Dogger Bank wind farm located off the coast of Yorkshire in the North Sea. Creyke Beck A has a nameplate capacity of about 1.2 GW courtesy of GE Renewable Energy’s ultra-large 12 MW wind turbine. Once the three offshore wind farm of Dogger Bank’s Creyke Beck A/B and Teesside A wraps up construction, their total capacity will reach 3.6 GW – enough to power 3.5 million homes.