Walney Offshore Windfarms Ltd is delighted to announce that the world’s largest wind farm is now fully operational. The Walney wind farm, off the coast of Cumbria, has today entered full commissioning, with all 102 turbines now delivering clean electricity into the UK’s grid.
The wind farm, which combines the Walney 1 and 2 projects, is a joint venture between DONG Energy (50.1%), SSE (25.1%) and OPW ( 24.8%). With a total capacity of 367MW, Walney can supply up to 320,000 households with renewable power and has created around 60 jobs at its new operations centre in Barrow-in-Furness.
Walney 2 was built in the fastest ever time for a large offshore wind project, with all turbines and cables installed in just five months and 13 days, setting a record in the sector. Its completion in February this year marked an important step forwards for the industry, and demonstrates DONG Energy’s strong drive towards further building the offshore wind industry and driving down costs.
Walney is also ground-breaking in its financing, being the first ever UK offshore wind farm to receive investment from a pension fund service provider and an equity fund before it had been built. OPW, a consortium of the Dutch pension fund service provider PGGM and the Ampere Equity Fund, took a 24.8 per cent stake in the project in December 2010.
The partnership with PGGM and Ampere Equity Fund clearly demonstrates that institutional investors are willing to invest in well-structured offshore wind construction projects alongside market leading industry participants. DONG Energy has around 30 per cent of the offshore wind market throughout Europe.
Benj Sykes, DONG Energy’s Director of Operations, UK Wind Power said: “DONG Energy is delighted that our record-breaking project is now fully operational, providing clean energy from the UK’s abundant wind resources directly into the grid. Walney is the first project in the UK to be backed by institutional investors before it was built – a confidence justified by the speed and efficiency of the construction. It shows our commitment to offshore wind development in the UK and to driving down costs.”
Jim Smith, SSE’s Managing Director, Renewables, said:
“Walney is a great example of how much offshore wind has matured as an industry in a relatively short time, and will provide a significant contribution to the UK government’s CO2 reduction targets and fuel security ambitions.”
Walney has gained plaudits from the energy industry, having been shortlisted for a RenewableUK award which recognises exception achievement in a large scale project during all the stages of project development. The winner of the RenewableUK Large Project Award will be announced in London on 27 June 2012.