Danish state-owned company Dong Energy A/S plans to set a new world record for the world’s largest offshore wind farm, breaking the existing record currently held by the 630-megawatt London Array, another facility built by Dong. The new U.K. wind farm will be located in the Irish Sea, about 12 miles off the west coast of Great Britain. When commissioned, it will provide enough energy to power almost a half million homes.
It’s no surprise that Dong is behind this effort, as it is Denmark’s largest energy company and the world’s largest developer of offshore wind power. The company has a longstanding relationship with the UK, constructing and, in some cases, operating multiple offshore wind facilities, including those in Barrow, Burbo Bank, and Walney Island. Between these projects and others in Germany, Dong now has a total of 5.1 gigawatts of offshore wind capacity. It aims to expand this capacity even further with a projected goal of 6.5 gigawatts of offshore wind energy production by 2020.
Following its success with the previous Walney projects, Dong was awarded a third contract in 2014 to build the Walney Extension. In this new Walney project, Dong will build upon the existing 367-megawatt Walney 1 and Walney 2 wind farms, which the company partially owns. The company will install 40 new 8-megawatt turbines and 47 additional 7-megawatt machines. Combined, these turbines will generate 660-megawatt of energy, an output that is capable of powering 460,000 homes. The wind farm is expected to go online in 2018.
The Walney Extension project is part of a larger initiative by the U.K. to reduce the country’s carbon emissions and increase its usage of renewable energy sources. Offshore wind power is growing in the U.K. and the technology continues to have the support of Prime Minister David Cameron and his Conservative Party . Due to their commitment to this power source, the U.K. is now the world leader in offshore wind development, with 4.5 gigawatts of wind energy. This is the only beginning — the U.K. expects to increase its wind power output to an estimated 23.2 gigawatts by 2025.