On 31 August 2022, the Hornsea 2 wind farm revved up for the first time, and began generating electricity. It immediately became the largest offshore wind farm in the world.
Hornsea 2 is located around 89 km off the northeast coast of England, in the North Sea, adjacent to the similarly sized Hornsea 1 wind farm.
With a nameplate capacity of over 1.3 GW of power, it has the capability to supply electricity to over 1.4 million UK homes.
Its 165 Siemens Gamesa 8MW SG 8.0-167 DD turbines will be spread over an area of 462 km². As well as being the largest offshore wind farm in the world, it also boasts the world’s largest offshore substation.
Rapidly advancing technology
The world’s first offshore wind farm was commissioned in 1991, off the coast of Denmark. Named Vindeby, the facility consisted of just 11 turbines producing a nameplate capacity of around 4.95 MW. With a rotor diameter of 35 m, the turbines of Vindeby would be dwarfed by modern 300 m tall turbines.
This list only covers those wind farm projects that have started to generate power. There are many more either under construction, or in the proposal stage. The largest of these, off the coast of South Korea, could generate more than 8 GW of electricity.
Offshore wind finds its way to Australia
Until recently, offshore wind farms have not found favour in Australia, cited as being too expensive and difficult to build. That has changed recently, however, with the country’s first offshore wind project, Star of the South.
The proposal for the facility suggests that up to 200 turbines could be installed as close as 7 km to the Victorian coast line, passing over the Basslink cable.
If developed to its full potential capacity of 2.2 GW, Star of the South could provide a fifth of Victoria’s electricity requirements – that’s around 1.2 million homes. It would also easily move to first place in our list of the world’s five largest offshore wind farms.
The Australian Government is currently seeking feedback on whether the proposed area is suitable for development.
Learn more about the engineering of wind farms
Satya Tanner CPEng MIEAust, Country Manager Australia for renewable energy consultancy Lautec, will be speaking at Engineers Australia’s Climate Smart Engineering conference, running 22–23 November.
Tanner has recently returned from 10 years overseas working in the offshore wind industry, seven of which were spent working with Ørsted – operators of the Hornsea 1 & 2 wind farms – on their Greater Changhua 1 & 2 wind farms.
Her presentation, Offshore Wind Farm Project Success with Systems Engineering Approaches, will discuss the complex interfaces and logistical challenges involved in designing and installing offshore wind farms. She will show how systems engineering approaches can help keep a handle on complex interfaces during wind farm design, and how to set up visual representations of large data sets that help project decision making.