First power generated by Barrow offshore wind farm
The North West's first offshore wind farm has begun generation from its first row of turbines, 7km off Walney Island near Barrow, off the Cumbrian coast.
The 30 turbine Barrow Offshore Wind Farm is a joint venture between UK energy company Centrica and Danish energy group DONG. It will provide clean, green electricity to the equivalent of 65,000 British Gas homes when it is completed.
Depending on offshore weather conditions, construction work is expected to be completed during the second quarter. Testing and commissioning of all the equipment will follow with full commercial generation anticipated by the end of second quarter.
Generation of the first green electricity from the 90MW wind farm has been made possible by completion of the first eight turbines, and the commissioning of the UK's first offshore substation. This transforms the power generated from the wind turbines up to 132kV for transmission to the mainland.
The power is then exported to the national grid connection point at Heysham on the Lancashire coast. Commissioning work on the 27km subsea transmission cable and the new substation at Heysham was also recently completed.
The rectangular wind farm site covers an area of approximately ten square kilometres of the East Irish Sea, consisting of four rows of turbines, two with seven turbines and two with eight. The turbines are spaced 500 metres apart with the rows 750 metres apart. All thirty foundations were completed in November in readiness for the erection of the turbines.
The first row of turbines, which are generating the first power, have been installed by the purpose built vessel, the Resolution. The two section turbine towers, blades and nacelles (the top piece which houses the generating equipment) are being transported to site, six at a time. Each turbine weighs 251 tonnes and will stand 75 metres above sea level with the blades, when vertical, adding a further 45 metres.
Mark Clare, Managing Director of British Gas Residential Energy, said: "Not only is this another milestone on the journey to secure the UK's future energy needs, it underlines the significant investment to supply our customers with renewable electricity in the years ahead."
BOW Chairman and DONG Executive Vice President Hans Jørgen Rasmusen said: "We are pleased that we can begin delivering power from BOW. First power is an important milestone for DONG's activities in the UK and the company's strategy to become a major wind power player in Northern Europe. It gives me great pleasure to recognise the tremendous efforts of the entire project team.
Notes to Editors: More information on the project is available at www.bowind.co.uk