There has been an increasing demand for renewable energy sources owing to the depletion of non-renewable oil reserves. The title of ‘world’s largest offshore wind farm‘ has been batted about many times in the past few years – from the 100-turbine Thanet Wind Farm in the North Sea to the 175-turbine London Array. However two mega projects in Netherlands and Scotland are vying for that title now.
The Netherlands may become home to the world’s cheapest offshore wind farm as early as within the next decade, according to the Netherlands government. Plans for a 700 MW wind farm are coming together and the cost of the Borssele offshore wind farm is now estimated to run $2.7 billion less than originally thought. Additionally, the wind farm will have a higher output, producing 22.5 percent more electricity than previously expected. The project already has bids from 38 developers.
The Borselle wind farm will have two sites that will together generate clean energy nearly 14 miles off the coast of Zeeland province. Eventually, the Borssele project will be expanded into five separate sites. One of the extended projects will be an experimental farm where new wind energy technology can be tested. With first two sites in generating such savings- partly thanks to government subsidies- it is possible the timeline for the other sites will be fast-tracked.
“Worldwide, it has never happened before that an offshore wind farm can be built at such low cost,” said Henk Kamp, Netherlands’ economic affairs’ minister. “The Dutch system in which companies have to compete with each other while the government regulates all conditions for building the wind farm has proved to be very successful. This reduction of cost represents a major breakthrough in the transition to more sustainable energy.”
- The wind farm will generate energy for nearly one million homes, expanding to five million once the remainder of the wind farms are built.
- It will also create around 10,000 jobs, as well as other economic advantages for the local communities.
- These wind farm projects are part of the country’s larger strategy to increase offshore wind energy generation capacity of 1,000 MW by 4.5%
- This will result in a national goal of 16 percent renewable energy by 2023.
- Currently, the world’s largest offshore wind farm is the 630 MW London Array project, but the Borssele wind farm is expected to win that title upon its completion, with 700 MW.
Moray Offshore Renewables Ltd is also contesting for the title by constructing three offshore wind farms located 22km (13.5 miles) from the Caithness coast that will contain a total of 339 turbines. The £4.5 billion project has the potential to power up to one million households in Scotland.
The project has been divided into two major steps. First is the offshore generating station and secondly, the transmission infrastructure. This system will send the electrical power from the offshore farm to the mainland, where it can be used by industries and residential colonies.
The report on the project states: “Moray Offshore Renewables will provide a lead to the world’s renewable energy sector, by moving this technology from a demonstrator project to a commercial-scale, capable of meeting a significant proportion of the nation’s energy need.”
- Powering 1 million households
- Wind farm is expected to generate 1,500 MW (1.5 GW), with each site producing 500 MW.
- If the project materializes, it will produce more combined energy than 630 MW London Array project
Currently, Highland Council officers are recommending that the local authorities and businesses raise no objection to the plans especially relating to the fishing industry. Meanwhile, the Scottish government will announce its verdict on the planning application soon.