Major offshore wind farm using 187-meter high turbines starts to produce power


As technology develop, the size of wind turbines is increasing. This image does not show the type of turbine that will be used at Triton Knoll.

Rini Kools | iStock | Getty Images

A major wind farm off the U.K.’s east coast featuring huge turbines has produced its first power, in the latest example of how the sector’s technology is growing in size. 

The 857 megawatt (MW) Triton Knoll Offshore Wind Farm will be able to power the equivalent of more than 800,000 homes in the U.K. once fully operational, according to a statement on the project’s website.

The development is using 9.5 MW turbines from Danish firm Vestas which have a tip height of around 187 meters.

On its website, Triton Knoll has described the Vestas turbines as “amongst the most powerful operating anywhere in the world … capable of energising a typical UK household for more than 29 hours with just a single turn of the blades.”

RWE, Kansai Electric Power and J-Power are joint owners of Triton Knoll, with RWE responsible for managing its construction, operation and maintenance.

The North Sea, where Triton Knoll is located, is now home to a number of large-scale offshore wind facilities.

These include the 1.2 gigawatt (GW) Hornsea One development, which is located in waters off Yorkshire, England, and uses wind turbines that are 190 meters tall.

Looking ahead, major projects planned for the North Sea include the Dogger Bank Wind Farm, which will have a total capacity of 3.6 GW, and the 3.1 GW East Anglia Hub.

UK No. 1, but China not far behind

News of the development at Triton Knoll helps to cement the U.K’s position as a world leader in the offshore wind sector.

It is currently the No. 1 market for cumulative offshore wind installations, with over 10.2 GW of capacity, according to recent figures from the Global Wind Energy Council. China is close behind, however, with just under 10 GW of installations.

The world added more than 6 gigawatts (GW) of new offshore wind capacity in 2020, with China responsible for over half of these installations, according to the GWEC.

As technology has developed, the size of wind turbines has increased. GE Renewable Energy’s Haliade-X turbine, for example, stands 260 meters tall and can be configured to 12, 13 or 14 MW.

Elsewhere, Vestas has announced plans for a 15 MW offshore wind turbine, with the firm hoping to install a prototype next year before ramping up production in 2024, while Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy is working on a 14 MW turbine which can also be boosted to 15 MW if required. Both Vestas and Siemens Gamesa say the height of their turbines will be site-specific.

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