Offshore wind farm unlocks 389MW potential months ahead of schedule
Energy Secretary Ed Davey has officially opened the 389MW West of Duddon Sands offshore wind farm which reached full power output more than two months early.
The renewable energy project developed by DONG Energy and ScottishPower Renewables in the Irish Sea is now fully operational and will generate enough electricity to meet the annual demand of approximately 280,000 homes.
Approximately 1,000 people were employed on the project which has also seen more than 200 km of undersea cabling installed. The total area covered by the wind farm is 67km² and each of the 108 turbines has a capacity of 3.6MW.
Ed Davey said: "This wind farm will generate enough clean electricity to power more than a quarter of a million homes and give the local economy a major and sustained boost.
"We want an energy mix that is built on diverse, home grown sources to make sure our supplies are clean and secure. Wind has a huge role to play, which is why the UK is the best place in the world to invest in offshore wind projects."
One of the benefits to the project has been the new £50m offshore wind terminal at Belfast Harbour, the first purpose-built offshore wind installation and pre-assembly harbour in the UK and Ireland.
ScottishPower and Iberdrola chairman Ignacio Galan said: "West of Duddon Sands is the first offshore wind farm in the UK to use such highly advanced construction methods, allowing us to complete the project months ahead of schedule.
"In the past, the type of storm force winds that we experienced off the west coast of the UK last winter would have resulted in months of delays and cancelled operations. But working in tandem with two highly sophisticated installation vessels, all supported by the excellent facilities at Belfast, has seen one of the most efficient offshore projects ever delivered in the UK."