The world’s largest offshore wind farm under construction in the North Sea has started pumping out electricity for the first time. Just one wind turbine is operating so far, but one swoop of its giant blades is enough to power an average UK home for about two days.
Known as Dogger Bank, the giant wind farm is set to include 277 offshore turbines over 130 kilometers (70 nautical miles) off the east coast of England.
The project, jointly developed by Britain’s SSE Renewables and Norway’s Equinor and Vårgrønn, is due to be completed in 2026. Once up and running, Dogger Bank will be the world’s largest offshore wind farm, more than two and a half times the size of the current record holder.
Earlier this month, part of the complex called Dogger Bank A started transmitting electricity to the UK’s national grid, marking a massive milestone in the project.
“There’s been lots of talk about the need to build homegrown energy supplies, but we are taking action on a massive scale. Dogger Bank will provide a significant boost to UK energy security, affordability, and leadership in tackling climate change. This is exactly how we should be responding to the energy crisis,” Alistair Phillips-Davies, Chief Executive of SSE, said in a statement.
Each turbine will be 260 meters (853 feet) tall with 107 meter (351 foot) long blades. That’s a pretty impressive size, although not quite as big as the turbines off the coast of China’s Fujian Province that have blades measuring 123 meters (403 feet) long.
The switching on of the Dogger Bank turbine has been exploited as a political victory for UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak who has faced a huge amount of criticism for delaying critical measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, as well as granting hundreds of permits for fossil fuel extraction in the North Sea.
“I’m proud that this country is already a world leader in reaching Net Zero by 2050, and by doubling down on the new green industries of the future, we’ll get there in a way that’s both pragmatic and ambitious,” Prime Minister Sunak said.
“That’s why it’s fantastic to see the world’s largest wind farm, Dogger Bank, generating power for the first time today from UK waters, which will not only bolster our energy security, but create jobs, lower electricity bills and keep us on track for Net Zero,” his statement continued.
The somewhat unusual name of the wind farm stems from the term Doggerland, the submerged landbridge beneath the North Sea that connected Britain to continental Europe during the last Ice Age. It disappeared around 7,000 to 8,000 years ago when sea levels rose, submerging the landbridge.
Remarkably, humans used to live on this long-lost patch of land, as proven by the wealth of bones and stone tools found within the North Sea. In one of the most incredible discoveries here, a fragment of the skull of a Neanderthal was dredged up from the seabed near the Netherlands.