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article imageWorld's largest offshore wind farm opens off northwest England

By Karen Graham     Sep 6, 2018 in Technology
The world’s largest offshore wind farm has officially opened off northwest England. Located in the Irish Sea, the Walney Extension Offshore Wind Farm has a total capacity of 659 megawatts and is capable of powering nearly 600,000 homes in the U.K
The Guardian is reporting Matthew Wright, the U.K. managing director of Danish energy firm Ørsted, the project’s developer, said: “It’s another benchmark in terms of the scale. This – bigger turbines, with fewer positions and a bit further out – is really the shape of projects going forward.”
Walney Extension is Orsted's eleventh operational offshore wind farm in the U.K. And it is also massive in its dimensions. There are 87 turbines - 47 MHI Vestas turbines and 40 Siemens Gamesa turbines. They cover an area equal to about 20,000 football pitches.
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Dong Energy
In other words, the wind farm covers 145 square kilometers (55 square miles). Orsted owns 50 percent of the project, with Danish pension funds PFA and PKA owning 25 percent each.
The Vestas V164-8.0MW turbine is the biggest of its kind in the world, with a hub height of 105 meters (344 feet) and a tip height of 187 meters (613.5 feet). Its blades measure 80 meters (262-feet)-long, providing a swept area of 21,124 square meters (8,156 square miles), while its nacelle is 20 meters (66 feet)-long, 8 meters 26.2 feet)-wide and 8 meters high.
A note on football pitches: when it comes to the length of a pitch, it must be between a minimum of 100 yards, or 90 meters, and a maximum of 130 yards, or 120 meters. So figuring out how big an offshore wind farm is in relation to 20,000 football pitches? It is very big.
How big is one blade on the Vestas wind turbine?  Here s a hint - Each blade weighs 35 tons.
How big is one blade on the Vestas wind turbine? Here's a hint - Each blade weighs 35 tons.
Vestas
The 40 eight-megawatt MHI Vestas turbines are the largest wind turbines in operation globally, standing 195 meters (213 yards) tall. Orsted says the turbines have been optimized to generate as much as 8.25 megawatts each.
The very first time the Vestas 8MW turbines were ever used was in the Burbo Bank Extension offshore wind farm in the UK's Liverpool Bay in May 2017, according to Digital Journal.
There are 150 Siemens Wind Power turbines  covering 68 square kilometers in the North Sea off the co...
There are 150 Siemens Wind Power turbines, covering 68 square kilometers in the North Sea off the coast of Netherlands.
Gemini Wind Park
Matthew Wright, Orsted U.K. managing director, told Reuters in an interview Britain’s offshore success was "due to a combination of strong wind speeds and shallow waters in the North Sea and the Irish Sea as well as continued support from the government."
“For the last 10 years governments of all colors have supported renewable energy and offshore wind in the UK, leading to a thriving industry,” he said.
Offshore wind in Europe hit new milestone in 2017  with United Kingdom accounting for half of new ca...
Offshore wind in Europe hit new milestone in 2017, with United Kingdom accounting for half of new capacity.
WindEurope
Europe a world leader in offshore wind energy
There are currently more than 4,000 offshore wind turbines across 11 European countries, according to trade body WindEurope. In 2017 alone, 13 new offshore wind farms were completed, including the world's first floating wind farm.
The U.K.'s Energy and Clean Growth Minister, Claire Perry had this to say about the Walney Extension: "Record-breaking engineering landmarks like this huge offshore wind farm help us consolidate our global leadership position, break records for generating renewable energy, and create thousands of high-quality jobs," according to CNBC News.
More about Wind farm, offshore wind, Walney Extension, largest on planet