Company to supply 190 turbines for project, each standing at almost 250 metres tall with a capacity of 13GW
Almost 200 of the biggest offshore wind turbines ever made are set to be installed in the North Sea, with GE Renewable Energy having scored a record-breaking deal to provide its giant turbines for the Dogger Bank Wind Farm project, a joint venture between SSE Renewables and Equinor.
Set to be the world's largest offshore wind farm once it comes online in the 2026, the Dogger Bank Wind Farm project is being built in three phases, which together secured 3.6GW of offshore wind contracts through the UK government's Contracts for Difference auctions last year.
Subject to the first two phases of the project, Dogger Bank A and B, reaching financial close later this year, an order has been placed with GE for 190 Haliade-X 13MW offshore wind turbines to be installed 130km of England's north east coast, split evenly at 95 turbines for each phase, it announced today.
It is set to mark the first time GE's huge 13MW Haliade-X turbines are installed at scale anywhere in the world, with each capable of generating enough electricity to power an average UK home for more than two days.
The order for the turbines, which stand at 248 metres tall - or 2.5 times the height of Big Ben - with 107 metre-long blades, is expected to create hundreds of jobs in north east England in both maintenance and construction, with turbine installation expected to begin in 2023 at Dogger Bank A.
Steve Wilson, project director for Dogger Bank at SSE Renewables, said the order promised to bring "huge economic benefits to the North East of England, where 120 skilled jobs will be created during construction of the windfarm, along with 120 skilled jobs during the maintenance phase".
"These turbines are a true testament of how hard the offshore wind industry is working to continually innovate and drive down costs and we look forward to working with GE Renewable Energy to help us deliver the largest offshore wind farm in the world," he added.
To service the contract, GE Renewable Energy is set to establish its harbour activities at Able Seaton Port in Hartlepool to serve as a base for the turbine service equipment, installation and commissioning activities for Dogger Bank A and B, it said. It came as the US giant separately announced this week that it is to stop making equipment for new coal-fired power plants worldwide.
Energy and Clean Growth Minister Kwasi Kwarteng said he was "thrilled to see so many green jobs on the way to the North East of England thanks to our world leading offshore wind industry".
"Projects like Dogger Bank are absolutely crucial to building back greener from the coronavirus pandemic - creating jobs, growing the economy and tackling climate change," he said. "I look forward to watching its progress in the months and years ahead."
It also came alongside further positive news for the UK's burgeoning offshore wind energy sector, with a first of its kind agreement announced today that could see British and Dutch wind farms linked via subsea power cables to provide an extra 2GW of green electricity to both country's grids.
National Grid Ventures and Dutch transmission system operator TenneT today said they were teaming up to explore the potential of an interconnector between the UK and Ireland, which could simultaneously connect up to 4GW of British and Dutch offshore wind power capacity.
Under the terms of the cooperation agreement, the two companies aim to have a path-finder project defined by the end of 2021, with a view to potentially delivering subsea interconnector cable by 2029, which would be the first of its kind for the two countries in the North Sea.
Jon Butterworth, managing director for National Grid Ventures, said the UK and EU's binding commitments to net zero emissions by 2050 signaled the clear need for more renewable energy capacity.
"Multi-purpose interconnectors have the potential to act as a key enabler for new offshore wind projects and we're delighted to be partnering once again with TenneT to deliver an innovative vision to help realise the full green energy potential of the North Sea," he added.
The project would support both countries growing offshore wind ambitions, with the UK targeting 40GW of capacity by 2030, and the Dutch seeking 11.5GW over the same time frame, rising to 20-40GW by 2050.
By connecting the two countries' offshore wind power systems, interconnector cable would enable spare transmission capacity to be used to trade electricity between the UK and the Netherlands.
RenewableUK's director of future electricity systems, Barnaby Wharton, welcomed the idea of a Dutch-British interconnector as a "visionary project".
"Innovative projects like this will help us to maximise the use of the massive amount of power we're generating from offshore wind, which is set to be the dominant technology in our energy system by the end of this decade," she explained. "Building more interconnectors will drive down costs for consumers even further by allowing more clean electricity to flow between countries - it's another step towards the era of cheap, plentiful power which renewables can provide."
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