The largest offshore wind farm in the world, Hornsea 2, is located 55 miles from Yorkshire’s coast, and is now fully operational. The Hornsea 2 Project can produce enough electricity to power around 1.3 million homes, that’s enough to power a city the size of Manchester.
Ten years ago, renewable energy comprised only 11% of the UK’s total energy mix. In 2021, it was 40%, with offshore wind accounting for the largest portion. The Hornsea 2 forms part of an enormous wind farm development by energy firm Orsted.
Patrick Harnett, the program director at the Hornsea 2, stated that “the UK is one the world leaders in offshore wind.” “This is a very exciting moment after five years of work to fully commercialize the world’s largest offshore turbine farm.”
The wind farm is home to 165 turbines. They are approximately 200-meter-tall from the sea to the tops of the 81m blades. Harnett states that one rotation takes only six seconds and can provide enough energy to power an entire home for a day. Both the size and number of turbines and wind farms have increased in the last decade, which has contributed to a decrease in the price of electricity. The Hornsea 2 is now the “world’s biggest” after its neighbor, the Hornsea 1, first captured that title. It covers an approximate area of more than 64,000 football fields. It is unlikely its title will survive with other large projects in the North Sea presently under construction. When entirely constructed, the Dogger Bank wind farm will be capable of powering 6 million homes.
Simon Evans, Carbon Brief, a website that tracks renewable energy issues, stated that the last time it was around £450 per megawatt hour. “That would be 9x costlier than the current expense of building new renewable capacity.”
The UK government purchased 11 gigawatts of renewable energy in its July auction. This is enough to power approximately 12 million homes. It has also committed to decarbonizing electricity generation by 2035 under its Net-Zero goals, with the offshore wind playing an important role.
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the subsequent global energy crisis have made it more difficult to find alternative power sources instead of gas-fired power plants. There are no immediate solutions. An offshore wind project takes approximately five years to go from planning consent to fully operational. Others argue that the current energy crisis is so severe that it makes sense to reconsider the possibility of building wind farms on the shores instead.
“Onshore wind has historically been the most cost-effective form of energy, and it is possible to get it up and to run in around a year,” Melanie Onn, Renewable UK, told BBC News.
“We’re not doing it at the moment because there’s a planning process that allows only one person to object to an onshore wind farm, which shuts the whole thing down. The government needs to take action to put our country’s needs first.