U.K. inaugurates world's largest offshore wind farm

London Array, constructed with wind turbines supplied by Siemens, has a total capacity of 630 MW and will generate enough power to supply 500,000 British households with electricity.

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Siemens (Erlangen, Germany) reported on July 4 that it provided the wind turbines and grid connection for the world’s largest offshore wind power plant, London Array, off the U.K. coast. Together with Dong Energy, Siemens will also be responsible for the service of the wind turbines through a long-term agreement. The wind power plant owned, developed and built by a consortium consisting of Dong Energy, E.ON and Masdar, has a total capacity of 630 MW and will generate enough power to supply 500,000 British households with clean electricity. London Array will reduce annual CO2 emissions by approximately 900,000 tons, which equals the emissions of 300,000 passenger cars.

“London Array is the world’s largest offshore wind power plant and marks a milestone in the development of offshore wind power. This project underscores the leading position of Siemens in this attractive growth market,” declared Peter Löscher, president and CEO of Siemens AG on the occasion of the opening ceremony in Margate, Great Britain.

The London Array offshore wind farm is located in the Thames estuary, approximately 20 km/12.4 miles off the Kent and Essex coast. Siemens supplied and installed the 175 wind turbines, each with a rotor diameter of 120m/394 ft and a rating of 3.6 MW. In addition, the company supplied the grid connection with one onshore and two offshore substations in the North Sea. The electricity generated by the wind turbines is bundled at sea and transported via high-voltage submarine cables to the coast. The wind farm will be operated and maintained from a purpose- built base at Ramsgate Port.

“Projects of this magnitude contribute to further industrialization of complex production and logistics processes for offshore wind power plants,” said Löscher. During the execution of the London Array project, Siemens was able to further standardize offshore installation processes covering manufacturing, transport and logistics as well as installation of wind turbines offshore.

Offshore wind power is already playing an important role in the energy systems of Northern Europe. It's largest offshore markets, Great Britain and Germany, have ambitious development plans. Both countries are planning rapid and broad expansion of offshore energy generation. The German government plans to have 10 GW of offshore capacity installed by 2020. Great Britain is targeting up to 18 GW of wind energy by 2020, enough to meet nearly one-fifth of Britain’s electricity demand.