On July 4, 2013, Prime Minister David Cameron, Secretary of State Edward Davey , DECC Minister Greg Barker and more than 350 other people officially inaugurated London Array, the world’s largest offshore wind farm located in the Outer Thames Estuary, 12 miles off the United Kingdom’s Essex and Kent coasts.
London Array’s first phase consists of 175 wind turbines that have a capacity of producing 630 megawatts of clean energy – enough to power 500,000 homes (two-thirds of Kent) and reduce Co2 emissions by more than 925,000 metric tons per year.
Speaking at the Turner Contemporary gallery in Margate, Kent, where the inauguration ceremony was held, Prime Minister Cameron said it was a great day for both Kent and Britain.
He said London Array was built by some of the most talented engineers, hardest workers and bravest seamen, and would provide benefits to Kent for years to come.
Turbine installation for the first phase was completed in December last year, and the last of the 3.6MW Siemens turbines was commissioned in April 2013.
The $ 2.26 billion London Array project is a joint venture undertaken by Denmark-based DONG Energy, Abu Dhabi’s Masdar and the E.ON Group. The latter is one of the largest green energy producers in the United Kingdom, with stakes in 20 wind farms and projects totaling 1,500MW of renewable capacity.
The investment has created more work and jobs for businesses all over the U.K., from cable manufacturers in Yorkshire to boat companies in Brightlingsea and wind towers from Scotland.
All told, the project’s construction required 1,000 workers on-site, and an overall total of 6,700 people from 75 different businesses and organizations were involved.
Apart from the 175 turbines spread around across a 38.6 square mile area, workers also had to lay out 280 miles of undersea cabling and build two offshore substations, in addition to a purpose-built operations base at the Port of Ramsgate.
Benj Sykes, country manager for DONG Energy’s United Kingdom Wind business, said that building London Array was a great achievement. He said that what they have learnt at London Array will help them drive down the costs of more offshore wind farms that are in the pipeline.
The planned second phase of London Array will add up to 65 turbines and further boost the project’s capacity by another 240MW, for a total of 870MW.