Wind power provides an ever growing amount of electricity for the United Kingdom and by the end of July 2019, it consisted of 9,929 wind turbines with a total installed capacity of over 21.5 gigawatts: 13,062 megawatts of onshore capacity and 8,483 megawatts of offshore capacity.
This placed the United Kingdom at this time as the world’s sixth largest producer of wind power.] As of 2012, polling of public opinion consistently shows strong support for wind power in the UK, with nearly three quarters of the population agreeing with its use, even for people living near onshore wind turbines
Through the Renewables Obligation, British electricity suppliers are now required by law to provide a proportion of their sales from renewable sources such as wind power or pay a penalty fee. The supplier then receives a Renewables Obligation Certificate (ROC) for each MWh of electricity they have purchased. Within the United Kingdom wind power is the largest source of renewable electricity and the second largest source of renewable energy after biomass.
2018 has been a seminal year for wind Power in the UK. Since 2016 Wind Power has been a greater proportion of supply to the UK national grid than coal but in the first quarter of 2018 even supplanted Nuclear Power in terms of percentage of supply.
The UK is fast becoming a world leader in Wind Power largely due to the UK governments willingness to invest in the technology coupled with the geographical advantages of being an island nation. With the UK considered to be one of the best locations for Wind technology not only in Europe but also the world there is no let up in the UK’s investment in Wind Power.
The next planned stage is the Hornsea two offshore wind farm which will be situation 56 miles off the Yorkshire coast adjacent to the Hornsea one wind farm currently under construction.
Hornsea 2 however is not simply an extension of Hornsea one, as with all things progress will not be abated, Hornsea 2 will have some of the largest wind turbines ever constructed, the new generation of Siemens Gamesa 8MW SG 8.0-167 DD turbines capable of delivering an additional 20% annual power output than those used for Hornsea one.
The numbers are mind warping, 165 Siemens Gamesa 8 Mega Watt turbines which will give Hornsea 2 a capacity of 1.4 GW, capable of providing power to 1.3 million UK homes. Hornsea 2 will span an offshore area of 462Km2 and become fully operational in 2022.
At 1.4 GW, Hornsea Two will overtake Hornsea One as the world’s biggest offshore wind farm. Manufactured locally to avoid extensive shipping costs, the blades will be delivered from the Siemens Gamesa factory in Hull. The project will use the world’s largest offshore substation and will deliver the most affordable electricity from offshore wind to date.
Project developer Ørsted (previously Dong Energy) gained the rights to the project in August 2015 through the acquisition of SMartWind, a 50:50 joint venture (JV) between Mainstream Renewable Power and Siemens Financial Services.
The scoping report for the project was completed in 2012. The consent application was submitted to the Planning Inspectorate (PINS) for examination in January 2015 and completed in March 2016.
Development consent for the project was granted by the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change in August 2016, and the final investment decision was taken in September 2017.
The project is in the early stages of construction. It is expected to be completed by 2022, generating around 2,000 jobs during construction and an additional 130 positions during its 25 years’ of operation. It is expected to provide clean energy for approximately 1.3 million British households.
The entire electrical output from the project will be conveyed to the 400kV National Grid transmission station at North Killingholme, following the same route as Hornsea Project One’s transmission system.
The project proposes the use of either a high-voltage direct current (HVDC) or high-voltage alternating current (HVAC) transmission system. With a HVDC, the project would require construction of six offshore HVAC collector substations and two HVDC converter stations at the offshore site. The HVAC option would involve construction of an offshore HVAC collector substation and two offshore HVAC reactive compensation substations.
Landfall for the transmission cable will be located at Horseshoe Point, near the village of North Cotes, Lincolnshire. The HVDC route would require the installation of four onshore cable trenches, while the HVAC option would require the laying of eight onshore cable trenches.
The onshore HVDC converter station or HVAC substation will be constructed midway from the landfall to the National Grid transmission station. The facility will be approximately 200m-long, 150m-wide, and 40m-high.
The total length of the offshore transmission subsea cables will be 150km, whereas the onshore transmission cable will be 40km-long.
Ørsted will operate the wind project from its operations hub currently under construction in Grimsby, which will be the largest facility of its kind in the UK upon its opening. The offshore construction on the windfarm site will begin in 2020, upon completion of the onshore cable construction, which began in 2019.
Massive step forward’
Managing director Matthew Wright said it was a “breakthrough moment” and a “massive step forward” for UK wind energy.
“Not only will Hornsea Project Two provide low cost, clean energy to the UK, it will also deliver high quality jobs and another huge boost to the UK supply chain,” he said.
“Long-term and highly-skilled jobs are being created across the North of England and the UK supply chain is going from strength to strength.”
Paul Cowling of Innogy, which won the Triton Knoll contract, said: “The importance of offshore wind in the UK’s energy mix is now beyond doubt.
“Wind energy should be at the very core of the UK Government’s energy policy and our long-term energy security.”
Whilst wind power can never be relied upon to produce an output for a base load in the way a Nuclear or gas fired power station can with the provision of on demand power, Wind can work alongside base load power to provide an ever increasing amount of electricity for the UK.