World's largest offshore wind farm opens off Cumbria

The largest offshore wind farm in the world begins generating electricity today off the Cumbrian coast.

The Walney Extension is 12 miles off the north west coast of England in the Irish Sea and has 87 turbines, each around 190 metres tall.

Covering an area roughly equal to 20,000 football pitches it produces enough green energy to power around 600,000 homes.

The previous largest offshore wind farm is the London Array off the Kent coast in the Thames Estuary.

Construction of the Walney Extension project started in 2015, and has been completed by Danish energy firm Orsted, with the backing of two Danish pension funds.

Matthew Wright, Orsted UK managing director, said: “The UK is the global leader in offshore wind and Walney Extension showcases the industry’s incredible success story.

“The project, completed on time and within budget, also marks another important step towards Orsted’s vision of a world that runs entirely on green energy.

“The north west region plays an important role in our UK offshore wind operations and our aim is to make a lasting and positive impact here.

“We want to ensure that the local community becomes an integral part of the renewable energy revolution that’s happening along its coastline.”

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Operations and maintenance activities will support around 250 jobs in the Barrow area.

Orsted has also set up a £15m local community fund and a “Skills Fund” to promote education, support local students and increase uptake of Stem subjects (science, technology, engineering and maths) for young people with apprenticeships in the wind turbine industry.

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Energy and Clean Growth Minister Claire Perry MP, said: “Record-breaking engineering landmarks like this huge offshore wind farm help us consolidate our global leadership position, break records for generating renewable energy, and create thousands of high quality jobs.

“As part of our modern Industrial Strategy we’ve set out a further £557m of funding for new renewable projects, helping to tackle climate change and deliver clean growth to local economies.”

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