A Colossal 1.3-GW Offshore Wind Farm Just Went Live. It's the Largest in the World
Danish energy firm Orsted announced that the Hornsea 2 offshore wind farm off the east coast of the U.K. has produced its first energy, a press statement reveals.
The important milestone means that Hornsea 2 will be the "world’s largest operating offshore wind farm" once it is fully operational in 2022, according to Orsted. The wind farm is located approximately 55 miles (90 km) off the coast of Yorkshire in the North Sea and covers an area of roughly 178 sq mi (462 km²).
According to Orsted, the wind farm will use 165 turbines once fully operational, giving it a capacity of over 1.3 gigawatts. This means that Hornsea 2 and 1 together will be able to power more than 1.3 million homes. Hornsea 1, described by Orsted as Hornsea 2's "sibling project", is located off the coast of Yorkshire in the U.K. and has a total capacity of 1.2 gigawatts.
Helping the UK achieve net-zero by 2050
According to Orsted, Hornsea 3 and Hornsea 4 are also in the planning stages, and collectively, the projects will "make a significant contribution to the U.K. government's target of achieving net-zero by 2050."
"Achieving first power is an important milestone for the project and a proud moment for the whole team," said Patrick Harnett, senior program director for Hornsea 2. "From here, we have the finishing line in sight as we install the remaining turbines and continue testing, commissioning, and energizing our wind farm into the new year."
The Hornsea project will give a significant boost to the U.K.'s growing renewable energy sector. In July 2019, Scotland produced enough energy to power all of its homes twice over. According to CNBC, meanwhile, U.K. officials are aiming to reach 40 GW of capacity by 2030. By comparison, the entire European Union is aiming to reach 300 GW of offshore wind capacity by 2050. The U.S. has some catching up to do with the E.U. and the U.K. as the White House only approved the country's first major offshore wind farm in February this year, which will have a capacity of 800 megawatts.
Editor’s note: The article previously stated that the Hornsea 2 offshore wind farm was located approximately 55 miles (90 km) off the coast of Scotland. This has been corrected.
IE attends New Scientist Live and speaks with the UK Atomic Energy Authority, to learn more about the ambitious STEP program.