World's Largest Offshore Wind Farm Opens

Walney Extension's 87 turbines have a total capacity of 659 MW, sufficient to power almost 600,000 UK homes.

The world's largest operational offshore wind farm, named Walney Extension, officially opened Sept. 5. Located in the Irish Sea about 11 miles from the Walney Island coast in Cumbria, the project is owned by the green energy company Ørsted (50 percent) and its partners, Danish pension funds PFA (25 percent) and PKA (25 percent). It is the first project to use wind turbines from two different manufacturers, Siemens Gamesa and MHI Vestas, according to an Ørsted news release about the wind farm.

Its 87 turbines have a total capacity of 659 MW, sufficient to power almost 600,000 UK homes. More than 120 miles of cables connect the turbines to the National Grid onshore; the farm includes two offshore substations, each weighing 4,000 tonnes.

Construction of Walney Extension was coordinated from Ørsted's West Coast Hub at the Port of Barrow, which is home to the project's operations and maintenance team. The West Coast Hub also services three other Ørsted offshore wind farms -- Barrow, Walney, and West of Duddon Sands. Completion of Walney Extension raises Ørsted's total capacity operating out of Barrow up to 1.5 GW.

"The UK is the global leader in offshore wind, and Walney Extension showcases the industry's incredible success story," said Matthew Wright, Ørsted UK's managing director. "The project, completed on time and within budget, also marks another important step towards Ørsted’s vision of a world that runs entirely on green energy. The North-West region plays an important role in our UK offshore wind operations, and our aim is to make a lasting and positive impact here. We want to ensure that the local community becomes an integral part of the renewable energy revolution that's happening along its coastline."

Peter Damgaard Jensen, CEO of PKA, said, "We're proud to participate in the opening of the world's largest offshore wind farm to date and to supply over half a million UK homes with green power. Walney Extension is our sixth investment in wind farms since 2011, and is yet another important contribution to PKA's ambitious climate strategy, in which we continuously work to create good returns to our members while at the same time making a positive difference for the climate."