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Thursday, 25 December 2014

Huhne at turbine launch

THE energy secretary is set to visit Barrow to mark the completion of the world’s biggest offshore windfarm.

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BOOST: Turbines erected for Walney 1 of the Walney Offshore Windfarms project. Inset: Energy Secretary Chris Huhne JOE RILEY REF: 50013692B018

Chris Huhne will attend the inauguration of Walney Offshore Windfarm on February 9.

With a total capacity of 367 megawatts (MW), the windfarm – 10 miles off the coast of Walney, is the world’s biggest operational development of its kind. It is owned by four partners– Dong Energy, Scottish and Southern Energy, PGGM, and Ampere Equity Fund.

The construction of the second phase of the windfarm is also the fastest ever, in just five months and 14 days.

The development is made up of 102 3.6 MW turbines – each turbine being capable of generating electricity for more than 3,000 homes.

The invitation-only inauguration, set to take place at Barrow Town Hall, will include speeches from Mr Huhne and Dong Energy’s country chair, Brent Cheshire.

The energy secretary’s visit reaffirms the government’s commitment to tackling carbon emissions and increasing the amount of energy generated from renewable sources.

In 2009 the government vowed to achieve 15 per cent of the UK’s energy consumption from renewable sources by 2020. Dong’s £1bn Walney Windfarm is one of three developments located off the coast of South Cumbria.

Barrow 90 MW Offshore Wind (BOWIND) windfarm, four miles off Walney, started operating in 2006. It has 30 turbines and is jointly owned by UK firm Centrica and Danish firm Dong Energy.

Vattenfall’s 30-tubine Ormonde windfarm is also now in operation, having been completed last year. The 150 MW, £500m windfarm boasts the world’s biggest offshore turbines, each capable of producing 5 MW of electricity.

In total, windfarms off the coast of Barrow can produce up to 607 MW – enough power for around 600,000 homes.

Construction of the 108-turbine West of Duddon Sands Windfarm, involving Dong and Scottish Power, is expected to begin in 2013 and will generate enough electricity to power 300,000 homes. After that could see the start of Walney 3, a huge expansion to Dong’s Walney field with up to 200 more turbines will power a further 357,000.

Further ahead, Centrica has been awarded the licence to build more windfarms in the Irish Sea. The block stretches from North Wales to Cumbria and could, in theory, become home to 1,000 turbines in the future.

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