The world’s largest operational offshore wind farm has been opened off the coast of Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria, England. The £1 billion Walney wind farm is a joint venture between DONG Energy (50.1%), SSE (25.1%) and OPW (24.8%). With 102 turbines and a total capacity of 367.2 MW, Walney can supply up to 320,000 households a year with renewable power.
The wind farm, which combines the Walney 1 and 2 projects, has already set a number of industry records, and will create approximately 60 jobs at its new operations centre in Barrow-in-Furness.
DONG Energy managed to construct Walney 2 in the fastest ever time for an offshore wind project, with all turbines and cables installed in just five months and 13 days, setting a record in the sector. It marks an important step for the industry, and DONG Energy’s strong drive towards further industrialising the industry.
Walney is also ground-breaking in its financing, being the first UK offshore wind farm to receive investment from a pension fund service provider and an equity fund before it had even been built. OPW, a consortium of the Dutch pension fund service provider PGGM and Ampere Equity Fund, took a 24.8 per cent stake in the project in December 2010.
The partnership with PGGM and Ampere Equity Fund, which is managed by Triodos Bank’s subsidiary Triodos Investment Management, clearly demonstrates that institutional investors are willing to invest in well-structured offshore wind projects alongside market leading industry participants. DONG Energy has around 30 per cent of the offshore wind market throughout Europe. Walney is made up of 102 Siemens Wind Power turbines each with a capacity of 3.6 MW.