Higher than London’s Gherkin and with a span wider than the London Eye, the largest wind turbines ever to be used in a commercial development start spinning today.
Danish utility Dong Energy and its partners will open the Burbo Bank Extension off the coast of Liverpool, featuring 32 of MHI Vestas’ V164 turbines, each with a generating capacity of 8MW.
Each turbine is 195m tall – 15m higher than the London Gherkin office tower – and has a swept area greater than the London Eye. Together they will have a maximum output of 256MW, which Dong says will be able to power more than 230,000 homes.
The company pointed out that one turbine produces more energy than the whole of Vindeby, the world’s first offshore windfarm constructed by Dong 25 years ago.
They are not, however, the most powerful turbines in existence: MHI Vestas, a joint venture between Vestas of Denmark and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, has already reconfigured the V164 model to produce 9MW.
Henrik Poulsen, Dong’s chief executive, said in a press statement: "Less than 10 years ago at Burbo Bank, we were the first to install Siemens’ 3.6MW wind turbines and in this short time, the wind turbines have more than doubled in capacity."
He added: "The project has also helped to develop the UK supply chain. It is the first offshore windfarm to use UK-made blades and the order for transition pieces was the first for Teesside factory Offshore Structures Britain."
The development is half-owned by two other Danish companies: pension provider PKA and Kirkbi, the parent company of Lego.
The turbines were ordered for the Burbo Bank Extension in 2015, and two test units were erected off the coast of Esbjerg the following year.
The blades were designed and manufactured at MHI Vestas’ blade factory on the Isle of Wight, making them the first locally built blades to be installed at a UK offshore wind farm. They were assembled at a special terminal in Belfast Harbour, which was specifically developed to support offshore wind developments.
Image: The Burbo Bank extension (Dong Energy)