The Walney Extension project opened off northwest England Thursday, boasting a capacity of 659 megawatts (MW). This makes it the world's biggest offshore wind park in operation, overtaking the London Array off England's east cost with a capacity of 630 megawatts.
The Walney Extension produces enough electricity to power almost 600,000 homes. It's made up of 87 turbines built by Siemens Gamesa and MHI Vestas, the largest turbines of their kind in operation globally.
The wind farm covers an area of 145 square kilometers (55 square miles), the equivalent of 20,000 football pitches.
Strong winds and subsidies
Orsted UK Managing Director Matthew Wright told Reuters that Britain's offshore success was due to a combination of strong wind speeds and shallow waters, adding that it was also due to 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," Wright said.
Britain is the world's biggest offshore wind market, hosting 36 percent of globally installed wind capacity, according to data from the global Wind Energy Council.
Walney Extension is a shared-ownership project between Danish energy group Orsted and two Danish pension funds, PFA and PKA.
hg/ap (Reuters, AFP)