Sustainable Energy

An offshore wind farm with the ability to ‘power one million households' is fully up and running

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Key Points
  • A number of major offshore wind projects located in European waters are in the pipeline.
  • While Europe is home to a mature offshore wind sector, the one in the U.S. is still relatively new.
The Borssele 1&2 offshore wind farm is located in waters off the coast of Zeeland, the Netherlands.
Orsted

A major offshore wind farm in the Netherlands is now fully operational, with its owners, Danish energy firm Orsted, claiming it provides enough green electricity to power one million households.

Situated 23 kilometers (around 14.3 miles) off the coast of Zeeland, in the southwest of the Netherlands, the 752 megawatt (MW) Borssele 1 & 2 offshore wind farm spans an area of 112 square kilometers. It uses 94 wind turbines from Siemens Gamesa.

In an announcement Friday, Orsted described the facility as the second-largest operating offshore wind farm in the world. The largest, Hornsea One, has a capacity of 1.2 gigawatts (GW) and was also developed by Orsted.

News of Borssele 1 & 2's commissioning is the latest example of European countries embracing offshore wind and comes after the European Union said it wanted to increase its offshore wind capacity from 12 to 300 GW by 2050.

The "Offshore Renewable Energy Strategy" from the European Commission, the EU's executive arm, also aims for 40 GW of ocean energy such as tidal and wave power within the same time frame.

A number of major offshore wind projects located in European waters are now in the pipeline. These include the Dogger Bank Wind Farm in Britain, which left the EU in January 2020.

A 50:50 joint venture between SSE Renewables and Equinor, the Dogger Bank facility will have a total capacity of 3.6 GW once completed, making it the largest in the world.

At the end of last week, it was announced that a deal to fund the first two phases of the project had been completed. According to SSE, investment for Dogger Bank A and B will amount to approximately £6 billion (around $8 billion).

While Europe is now home to a mature offshore wind sector, the one in the U.S. is still relatively new.

The country's first offshore wind farm – the 30 MW, five-turbine Block Island Wind Farm, which is also operated by Orsted – only started commercial operations at the end of 2016.

The next few years could see the sector develop, however, with companies starting to invest large amounts of money in schemes located off the East Coast. 

Back in September, for instance, oil and gas giant BP took 50% stakes in Equinor's Empire Wind and Beacon Wind projects, which are located off the coasts of New York State and Massachusetts respectively.