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.
Developments have moved forward at a rapid pace since the first Danish offshore turbine, with a capacity of only 0.45 MW, began 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 meters and a capacity of 8 MW – can produce almost twice as much energy as all 11 of the small turbines that make up the Vindeby Offshore Wind Farm.
In fact, just one rotation of the largest wind turbines produces electricity to cover one conventional 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 recognized 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,” said DONG Energy’s Senior VP Anders Lindberg, who is responsible for the construction of offshore wind farms at the company.
WIND FARMS in OPERATION
“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,” he added.
At the end of 2015, DONG Energy had installed offshore wind farms with a total capacity of 3 GW. And there is much more in the pipeline. DONG Energy is building a number of large offshore wind farms in the UK and Germany that will increase capacity to 6.7 GW by around 2020, 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.
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 3.6 MW, the new turbine could deliver 56% more power than the previous generation of 2.3-MW offshore wind turbines.
The next breakthrough came in 2015, when DONG Energy built the UK offshore wind farm Westermost Rough with 6-MW wind turbines. And in September 2016, DONG Energy – as the first in the world – started to install the new 8-MW 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 0.45 MW turbines that make up the first offshore wind farm at Vindeby.