Just as 2021 drew to a close, officials involved with the construction and management of what is expected to be the world’s largest wind farm announced that they have achieved first power via Hornsea 2 off the northern coast of England.
Danish energy company ěrsted, one of the prime movers of the initiative, made the announcement through its official website last December 27, 2021. The formal announcement reiterated that, upon completion of all four of its phases, the Hornsea initiative located in the North Sea will be the world’s biggest wind-driven power generation facility.
Two Phases Up, Two to Go
Hornsea 1, the initial phase of the wind farm, began operations in mid-2021. Boasting 174 turbines, it is currently the world’s biggest offshore wind farm with a total capacity of 1.2Gw. Hornsea 1’s output is expected to bring renewable power to more than a million households in the United Kingdom alone. Construction for Hornsea 1 began in 2010 and was officially completed ten years later in 2020.
Hornsea 2, on the other hand, began construction in 2016. It will run on 165 8MW turbines from Siemens, enabling it to achieve a total generation capacity of 1.32Gw, slightly more than its predecessor. As of press time, these turbines are still under construction.
This second facility is located around 90 kilometers off the northern coasts of England, not too far from the cities of Leeds and Sheffield. Its reactive stations and offshore substation were installed and tested before the end of 2021.
Upon completion, Hornsea 2 will deliver power to the Killingholme substation, a process which involves underwater cables strung 390 kilometers below the ocean surface and terrestrial connections spanning an additional 40 kilometers. This wind farm will also hold the distinction of being the farthest built from any shoreline.
Once both Hornsea 1 and 2 are fully operational, these will work in tandem to generate electricity for around 2.3 million homes throughout the UK.
With plans already underway for the construction of Hornsea 3 and 4, it is estimated that the wind farm will be completed within the next year, but key dates may change due to any developments related to the pandemic. According to members of the ěrsted team, this mega-facility is going to play a key role in enabling the UK government to achieve the net-zero goals it has set for 2050.