One of the world’s biggest offshore wind farms gears up for full operations

One of the turbines at the Triton Knoll offshore wind farm, which is located in waters off England’s east coast.

Ian Greenwood

Turbine commissioning at one of the world’s biggest offshore wind farms is complete and full operations are slated to begin in the first quarter of 2022, according to German power firm RWE.

The 857 megawatt Triton Knoll Offshore Wind Farm is situated in waters off England’s east coast and uses 90 wind turbines from Danish firm Vestas.

In a statement Thursday RWE said Triton Knoll would produce “sufficient electricity to meet the needs of around 800,000 homes each year.” Investment in the project amounts to approximately £2 billion (around $2.74 billion).

RWE has a 59% stake in Triton Knoll. Its other owners are Kansai Electric Power and J-Power, who have stakes of 16% and 25%, respectively. RWE is responsible for the project’s construction, operation and maintenance.

Triton Knoll produced its first power in March 2021and its final turbine was installed last September.

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The North Sea, where Triton Knoll is located, is home to a number of large-scale offshore wind facilities. These include the 1.2 gigawatt Hornsea One development, which is located in waters off Yorkshire and uses 174 turbines.

Looking ahead, major projects planned for the North Sea include the Dogger Bank Wind Farm, which will have a total capacity of 3.6 GW once completed. The development of the project is taking place in three phases.

U.K. authorities want 40 GW of offshore wind capacity by 2030. The European Union, which the U.K. left in January 2020, is targeting 300 GW of offshore wind by the middle of this century.

Across the Atlantic, the U.S. has some way to go to catch up with Europe. America’s first offshore wind facility, the 30 megawatt Block Island Wind Farm in waters off Rhode Island, only started commercial operations in late 2016.

Change looks to be coming, however. In November ground was broken on a project dubbed the United States’ “first commercial scale offshore wind farm.”

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