Massive New Wind Farm Opens off U.K. Coast

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September 8, 2018

The world's largest offshore wind farm is operating off the coast of England—again.

Walney Extension wind farm

The new farm is known as the Walney Extension. It covers 56 square miles of water in the Irish Sea, off the coast of Walney Island, north of Blackpool, England, and features 87 massive turbines, each nearly 640 feet tall. In total, those turbines can generate 659 megawatts of power, enough to power 600,000 homes.

The U.K. already had the largest offshore wind farm, the London Array, completed in 2013 off the coast of Kent. That wind farm has nearly twice the number of turbines, but those are smaller than those in the Walney Extension.

The United Kingdom is leading the world in the use of wind farms, with seven of the 10 largest-capacity wind farms in the world. According to The Guardian, the top 10 are these:

NameCapacity
(megawatts)
Country
1. Walney Extension659United Kingdom
2. London Array630United Kingdom
3. Gemini600Netherlands
4. Gode I and II582Germany
5. Gwynt y Môr576United Kingdom
6. Race Bank573United Kingdom
7. Greater Gabbard504United Kingdom
8. Dudgeon402United Kingdom
8. Veja Mate402Germany
9. Rampion400United Kingdom

U.K. officials are already at work on an even larger wind farm. East Anglia One is due to start in 2020, with an expected capacity of 714 megawatts.

China boasts the largest non-European offshore wind farm, Huaneng Rudong, with a capacity of 300 megawatts. That country leads the world in onshore wind farms, with the top five and eight of the top 10. (The U.S., with California's Mojave Wind Farm, and India, are the other two countries in that list.)

Japan is building an offshore wind farm as well. Intended to feature 143 turbines, that wind farm was part of the country's efforts to shift electricity production away from nuclear power in the wake of the meltdown at the Fukushima Dai-Ichi Nuclear Power Plant in the wake of the 2011 Sendai Earthquake and subsequent tsunami. After the construction of an initial floating turbine, work on the Fukushima wind farm has continued.

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