Race Bank plays leading role in offshore wind's record year for installation

By Grimsby Telegraph | Posted: 17 Dec 2018

A record amount of new UK offshore wind capacity has been installed in 2018, with Grimsby’s Race Bank playing a huge part in the uplift.

Eight new offshore wind farms were officially opened, bringing the annual total of new capacity to 2,121 megawatts - nearly double the previous annual record of 1,154MW in 2012 - and enough to power well over two million homes.

This near-doubling of capacity was achieved with just 18 per cent more turbines than were installed in 2012 - 367 turbines this year compared to 309 turbines in 2012 - underlining the impressive growth in scale as costs reduce dramatically. Since 2012, the average capacity of an offshore turbine has grown over 50 per cent from 3.7MW to 5.8MW this year.

At 573MW, Orsted’s Race Bank accounts for more than a quarter of the addition, with news also coming that it could be doubled in size in the coming years. 

It was just behind the world’s largest operational offshore wind farm, the 659MW Walney Extension, with Rampion at 400MW on the South Coast, another major contributor.  

Offshore wind deployment by year: 

Offshore wind deployment will continue to grow next year, with Beatrice in Moray Firth (588MW) going fully operational, and construction work continuing on East Anglia One (714MW) and the huge Humber project Hornsea One (1,218MW). Both will both to be fully operational in 2020. 

Renewable UK’s executive director, Emma Pinchbeck, said: “We’re thrilled that we’ve absolutely smashed previous records and installed more new offshore wind power stations than ever before.

“This is just the beginning of the great shift to renewables. By 2030, offshore wind could be generating more than a third of the UK’s entire electricity needs, with 30 gigawatts up and running. The industry would attract £48 billion in investment by the end of the next decade and employ 27,000 people in highly-skilled jobs.

MORE: Grimsby's path to 8GW of offshore wind capacity

“Offshore wind has brought the UK jobs, lower bills and renewable energy. It’s offering even more to the UK in the anticipated Offshore Wind Sector Deal, which the Government has said it wants to finalise by Christmas.” 

The amazing construction project

Race Bank was bought off the drawing board from Centrica and developed out by Orsted, initially in its Dong Energy days. It brought helicopter technician transfers into the industry, as well as field-based work as the distance offshore increased, and with it yet another first, the quickest installation ever achieved. 

Featuring 91 Siemens Gamesa 6MW wind turbines, the majority of the blades were manufactured in Hull, making it the first truly pan-Humber wind farm of the six now built off the estuary.

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