Business

The sector’s greatest wind farm is actually monumental, and it’s one step nearer to fact

Financing for what will become the world’s largest offshore wind farm project, off the Northeast coast of the U.K., was completed on Thursday—further evidence of the strong demand for renewable energy projects even during a global economic downturn.

The Dogger Bank wind farm, which has been in the works since 2010, is a joint project of the Norwegian state energy giant, Equinor, and SSE Renewables, headquartered in Scotland. The deal covers financing for two of the three phases of the project, with total investment equivalent to £6 billion ($8 billion), SSE Renewables said in a release. It’s on track to be completed and operational by 2026.

Financing for the third stage will be released at a later date, Equinor said. Each stage will have a capacity of 1,200 MW, and the full three stages of the project within the next six years. At full capacity, the entire farm will produce an equivalent of 5% of the U.K.’s total electricity demand, or enough to power about 6 million homes.

At a length of 107 meters, each turbine blade is longer than a professional soccer pitch. Meanwhile, a single rotation of the blade will be able to power a home for two days, the project’s website says.

That will be a significant contribution from a single project. Renewables’ share of the total electricity supply varies day to day. For context, 6.5% of the total was supplied by renewable energy—of all kinds—on Thursday afternoon, according to the National Grid. Only 1.8% of the country’s power came from wind.

The project, which is built on what was once a spit of land—known as Doggerland—connecting the U.K. to the Northwest coast of mainland Europe, is just one piece of a rapid push towards renewable energy by countries and governments alike in northwest Europe.

That includes pledges by the U.K. to add momentum to the country’s expanding wind production, which is already the largest in the world. Last week, the U.K. unveiled its “green industrial revolution” plan, which pledged to quadruple the amount of offshore wind power by 2030, from its current rate. The British government has committed the country to legally binding targets to reach net-zero emissions by 2050.

The Dogger Bank project is not the only wind farm either company has in the works. SSE Renewables is currently leading construction on two other wind farms, one of which will be Scotland’s largest offshore wind farm.

Equinor, for its part, has pledged to hit a net-zero target for emissions by 2050—despite still being rooted in the Norwegian oil industry. To meet that goal, the company says it plans to increase 30-fold its installed global by 2035, to between 12-16 GW. The company already operates three offshore wind farms in the U.K., two of which it plans to extend.

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