Article updated on 1 December 2020
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The construction of what will be the world's largest offshore wind farm began in November 2020. Britain's homes will be powered by 853 ft-tall turbines, making them the largest offshore wind farm turbines in the world. They will generate clean energy as the powerful offshore winds turn their 351 ft blades.
The project that is being developed by SSE and Norway's Equinor will see a fleet of futuristic wind turbines built over three years on an artificial island in the North Sea, known as Dogger Bank, just 130 km from Yorkshire, off the UK's east coast.
In November 2020, having reached a financial close on the first two phases of the project, SSE Renewables and Equinor began work on the wind farm. The third phase is expected to be operational in 2026.
A total of 4.5 million homes will be able to reap the benefits of the project's generation of clean energy, with a single turbine having the capacity to generate power for 16,000 homes.
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The Dogger Bank Wind Farm Capacity
The Hornsea One project, which is set to open in 2020, will produce 1.2 GW in energy generated by turbines, making it the world's largest offshore wind farm. However, the Dogger Bank Wind Farm will overtake this once it opens in 2023 with a capacity of 3.6 GW. Rather than competing with one another, the projects will be part of a wider plan to help the UK meet its renewable energy and carbon footprint targets.
The UK's Carbon Emission Targets
In 2019, a monumental step forward in the UK's efforts to become carbon neutral was achieved, with statistics revealing that more of the country's energy was produced by renewable sources than it was fossil fuels in the third quarter of 2019. The UK government has set a target to reduce all emissions to "net zero" by 2050.
Of the country's renewable energy sources, wind power is currently the most significant, with 20% of the UK's total electricity being generated by this sector. The increase in wind power capacity over recent years has been attributed as a significant cause of the country being able to use more renewables than fossil fuels.
How Will the Dogger Bank Project Impact the UK's Renewable Energy Targets?
The opening of Dogger Bank will significantly increase the UK's renewable energy capacity further and help the country to make the switch to renewables by ensuring renewable energy production is more efficient and cost-effective than fossil fuels.
Dogger Bank will also prepare the country to meet its 2050 goal by implementing the infrastructure required to generate enough power to make this target reasonable. It will run alongside other newly opened wind farms such as Hornsea One and the Beatrice wind farm, as well as future projects such as Hornsea Two and Three. The projects will strengthen the position of wind power in the UK's renewable energy future.
Larger Turbines to Generate More Power
Construction on Dogger Bank began in January 2020 and it will be ready to power homes as soon as 2023. For the project to achieve the planned energy output, it needs to overcome some minor hurdles to permit its ambitious plans to go ahead.
Equinor and SSE, who teamed up in a joint venture to manage this project, applied to use larger wind turbines than are currently employed at the site and to abolish the current capacity cap. The Dogger Bank location encompasses Dogger Bank A, Dogger Bank B, and Dogger Bank C - three offshore wind farm projects. Dogger Bank Teesside A has currently become a focus as project managers attempt to remove rotor diameter restrictions at the site; the innovative 12 MW turbines they plan to use are 260 m high with a 220-rotor diameter.
The 260 m-high turbines are 65 m taller than standard 8 MW turbines. To put this into perspective, the 8 MW turbines are slightly taller than London's Vauxhall Tower, while the size of the new 12 MW turbines will stand nearly as high as The Shard in London, which measures 310 m tall.
In addition to required permits for the size of the new turbines, the developers have also requested that the 1.2 GW gross electrical output capacity cap be removed from the Dogger Bank C site to allow the project to generate significantly more significant amounts of electricity.
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The turbines that the project plans to use are the Haliade-X turbines, developed by GE Renewable Energy, a French company based in Paris. The Haliade-X turbines are the largest offshore wind farm turbines that have been created to date. The company specifically created the turbines for offshore energy generation to be able to maximize the energy potential of the strong and constant winds that are active in the North Sea location of Dogger Bank.
The extra-long blades of the turbines have been developed to withstand even the strongest winds known to strike the area. The blades are also expected to last for years without the need for replacement, helping to make the project one of the most efficient models of wind-generated energy in the world.
The result of the new turbine's design is that they will be able to generate more power at a lower cost, supplying the UK with a reliable, efficient source of clean energy. A total of 600 turbines are planned to be installed at the site, producing enough energy to power the entire Yorkshire and Humber region.
Dogger Bank Wind Farm as a Model for Future Clean Energy Projects
The plan for Dogger Bank is a model that could potentially be adopted by future projects not only in the UK but also around the world.
As governments worldwide initiate energy targets to combat their emissions, they are looking more and more towards large-scale, efficient, and effective models of producing clean energy. The Dogger Bank project may act as a blueprint for future clean energy initiatives, helping to shape the landscape of the future energy sector.
For the UK, Dogger Bank will be an essential component in helping the country to meet its climate change ambitions. It will generate around 10% of the country's energy requirements alone. The project sits alongside other previously planned large-scale wind farm projects in Britain. These projects are shaping the future energy infrastructure of the country, which looks like it will be heavily reliant on wind power over alternative clean energy sources. Together with these similar projects, wind farms could soon generate most of the electricity used by the UK.
References and Further Reading
Climate change: UK government to commit to 2050 target, BBC News, Roger Harrabin, https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-48596775
Dogger Bank Wind Farms, Dogger Bank, https://doggerbank.com
Equinor and SSE Seek to Boost Dogger Bank Teesside A Offshore Wind Farm, Offshore Wind, Adnan Durakovic, https://www.offshorewind.biz/2019/11/29/equinor-and-sse-seek-to-boost-dogger-bank-teesside-a-offshore-wind-farm/
First power for the world's most powerful turbine' incredible milestone', Energy Voice, Steve Wilson, https://www.energyvoice.com/opinion/211717/first-power-for-the-worlds-most-powerful-turbine-incredible-milestone/
UK becomes first major economy to pass net zero emissions law, gov.uk, https://www.gov.uk/government/news/uk-becomes-first-major-economy-to-pass-net-zero-emissions-law
World's largest wind turbines to be built off Yorkshire coast, The Guardian, Jillian Ambrose, https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/oct/01/worlds-largest-wind-turbines-to-be-built-off-yorkshire-coast
World's largest wind turbines to be built on artificial island off Yorkshire coast, The Independent, Phoebe Weston, https://www.independent.co.uk/environment/wind-turbines-uk-homes-artificial-island-dogger-bank-wind-farms-a9127596.html