E.ON, DONG and Masdar inaugurate the world's largest offshore wind farm
On July the 7th 2013 the world's largest offshore wind farm, London Array, was officially inaugurated off the British coast. London Array is a joint project of E.ON, the Danish energy company Dong and Masdar, the infrastructure fund of the Kingdom of Abu Dhabi. Present were Prime Minister David Cameron, Johannes Teyssen, (E.ON), Brent Cheshire, (Dong Energy), Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber (Masdar) and Peter Löscher (Siemens). London Array is located 20km off the Kent coast in south-east England. The wind farm has been operational since April, and at a capacity of 630MW will produce enough clean energy every year to meet the demand of about half a million UK homes.
Offshore construction began in March 2011 with the first foundations and the two offshore transformer stations. Since then 175 Siemens wind turbines have been erected and over 200km of cabling has been laid at a water depth of 25m. Each wind turbine reaches a height of 147m above sea level, which is roughly the height of Cologne Cathedral. And each of the two offshore transformer stations, which bundle the electricity generated by the wind farm and feed it to the power grid on the mainland, weighs 1,250t.
When the construction work was in full swing, over 60 vessels and more than 1,000 people were at the site at the same time. This called for huge logistical input and coordination. The largest vessels included the MPI Discovery and its sister ship, the MPI Adventure. Both are among the world's most modern ships used for installing foundations and wind turbines out in the open sea. On average, the specialists aboard the MPI Discovery needed one to two days to fully erect a wind turbine out at sea; if the weather was fine, this only took twelve hours. Under a six-year contract E.ON is also using the MPI Discovery to build the next offshore wind farms: Kårehamn (Sweden), Humber Gateway (UK) and Amrumbank-West in Germany's North Sea.