Offshore wind power facts
- On average, an offshore wind turbine produces 50% more electricity than a corresponding onshore wind turbine due to the superior wind conditions at sea.
- The first offshore wind turbines in the world were installed by DONG Energy at the Vindeby Offshore Wind Farm in 1991. Each of the 11 wind turbines has a capacity of 0.45MW.
- The biggest wind turbines that DONG Energy uses today have a capacity of 8MW, a rotor span of 164 metres and a tower height of 113 metres.
- At the moment, the world's largest offshore wind farm is London Array, which was built in 2013. London Array comprises of 175 3.6MW wind turbines, totalling a capacity of 630MW.
- London Array will be surpassed in 2018, once DONG Energy completes the construction of the 659MW Walney Extension Offshore Wind Farm – and again in 2020 with Hornsea Project 1, which will have a capacity of as much as 1,200MW, thus able to supply green power to one million UK households.
- DONG Energy has constructed more than a quarter of the world's existing offshore wind capacity.
Offshore wind capacity recently marked a milestone when DONG Energy commissioned offshore wind turbine number 1,000. It happened at the German offshore wind farm Gode Wind 2, which is one of the many wind farms that DONG Energy fully or partly owns and operates in Denmark, the UK and Germany.
From a niche technology to a reliable energy source
Developments have been moving forward at a rapid pace since the first Danish offshore wind turbine with a capacity of 0.45MW started producing power 25 years ago at the offshore wind farm Vindeby. Today, each of the largest wind turbines in the market – with a rotor span of 164 metres and a capacity of 8MW – can produce almost twice as much energy as all 11 of the small wind turbines that make up the Vindeby Offshore Wind Farm. In fact, just one rotation of the largest wind turbines produces electricity to cover one household's power consumption over 29 hours.
"In the space of only a few years, offshore wind has evolved from being a niche technology to being recognised as a reliable and clean energy source supplying power on utility scale and playing an important role in the green transformation of the energy sector. With 1,000 offshore wind turbines, we have a unique level of experience and routine at constructing and operating ‘power plants’ at sea, and this is crucial to ensuring that we can continue to reduce the costs of green electricity from offshore wind," says Senior Vice President Anders Lindberg, who is responsible for the construction of offshore wind farms at DONG Energy.
At the end of 2015, DONG Energy had installed offshore wind farms with a total capacity of 3GW (3,000MW). And there is much more in the pipeline: Towards 2020, DONG Energy is building a number of large offshore wind farms in the UK and Germany that will increase capacity to 6.7GW, equalling the electricity consumption of 17 million Europeans. In other words, in just four years, DONG Energy is building more offshore wind capacity than in the previous 25 years altogether.
Wind turbine electricity generation increasing
Developments really took off in 2007, when DONG Energy constructed the UK offshore wind farm Burbo Bank, which was the first to use the world's biggest offshore wind turbines at the time. With a capacity of 3.6MW, the new turbine could deliver 56% more power than the previous generation of 2.3MW offshore wind turbines.
The next breakthrough came in 2015, when DONG Energy built the UK offshore wind farm Westermost Rough with 6MW wind turbines. And in September 2016, DONG Energy – as the first in the world – started to install the new 8MW offshore turbines at the wind farm Burbo Bank Extension in UK waters. The capacity of the latest wind turbines is nearly 18 times as big as the 0.45MW turbines that make up the first offshore wind farm at Vindeby.
Wind farms in operation and under way