U.K.'s largest operational offshore windfarm commissioned

The Sheringham Shoal Offshore windfarm has a generating capacity of 317-megawatts (MW) and was officially opened by the country’s Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, Edward Davey, and His Royal Highness, Crown Prince Haakon of Norway. Sheringham Shoal is owned equally by Statoil ASA (NYSE:STO) (Stavanger, Norway) and Statkraft AS (Oslo, Norway) through their joint-venture company, Scira Offshore Energy Limited. The windfarm took three years to construct and is capable of generating enough electricity for more than 200,000 homes.

“We need to get the economy moving again and a massive expansion in home grown, clean, renewable energy capacity is central to this,” said Davey. “Sheringham Shoal will play an important part; supplying power to 220,000 homes, and providing jobs in the local community. Today’s opening is also an illustration of the strength of the U.K.’s strategic relationship with Norway. Investment in the UK’s energy mix needs to come from increasingly new and diverse sources, and this project is an excellent example of that.”

Statkraft’s president and CEO, Christian Rynning-Tønnesen, added: “The completion of Sheringham Shoal is a milestone based on Statoil’s offshore experience and Statkraft’s competence as Europe’s largest generator of renewable energy. The electricity produced makes a significant contribution to the ambitious U.K. plan to increase the level of renewables, and creates local jobs and growth opportunities.”

The windfarm boasts 88 turbines, each with a rated capacity of 3.6 MW, and covers an area of 35 square kilometres (km2). It will generate an estimated 1.1 terawatt hours (TWh) per year. The windfarm is supported by two 900-tonne offshore substations with two 132 kV marine cables that carry the power onshore to a substation at Salle before it enters the national grid at Norwich.

The opening of Sheringham Shoal coincides with the U.K. passing milestones for both onshore and offshore wind in September. The country recently breezed past the 5,000 MW mark for onshore wind power with the opening of the 28.6 MW Drone Hill windfarm by AES in the Scottish Borders. For additional information, see October 1, 2012, article – U.K. Onshore Wind Breezes Past 5,000 MW.

With Sheringham Shoal now online, the U.K.’s offshore wind capacity has surpassed the 2,500 MW mark, according to RenewableUK, the country’s trade and professional body for the wind and marine energy industries. RenewableUK’s Chief Executive Maria McCaffery said:”This is a landmark month for the British offshore wind industry, with more than 2.6 gigawatts of wind energy now installed. It’s amazing to think that the capacity of the three offshore wind farms which have either officially opened or gone operational this month has added very nearly a gigawatt in September alone. In just one month we’ve been given a glimpse of what’s possible – as long as a stable climate for investors is maintained. That’s why we’re calling on the Government to ensure that the right framework is in place as the Energy Bill makes its way through parliament.”

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