Wind Power

EON, Dong Connect World’s Largest Offshore Wind Farm to U.K. Grid

London Array, the world’s largest operating wind farm at sea, set the last of its 175 turbines whirling as backers EON SE, Dong Energy A/S and Masdar Abu Dhabi Future Energy Co. seek to cut costs by building at scale.

All of the Siemens AG turbines are now exporting power to the U.K. grid, the companies said today in a statement. The 630-megawatt facility off southeast England will generate enough electricity for almost half a million homes a year.

Britain, the largest market for marine wind farms, is working to reduce the cost of the technology that’s as much as double the expense of coal-fired power generation. The country has a target to get 30 percent of its electricity from renewable sources by the end of the decade, up from almost 12 percent now.

The current cost of offshore wind is about 160 euros ($208) a megawatt-hour, according to Fredericia, Denmark-based Dong, which owns 50 percent of London Array. EON has 30 percent and Masdar 20 percent.

“As we now look to our pipeline of future projects, Dong Energy is determined to drive down the costs of our offshore wind farms to 100 euros per megawatt-hour for projects we’ll be sanctioning in 2020,” Benj Sykes, country manager for Dong’s U.K. wind business, said today.

Britain has 3,300 megawatts of installed offshore wind capacity, more than the rest of the world combined. It plans to reach 18,000 megawatts by the end of the decade.

London Array is about 20 kilometers (12 miles) off the coasts of Kent and Essex. The plant’s owners are studying an expansion of the site to raise capacity to 870 megawatts.

Copyright 2013 Bloomberg

Lead image: Offshore wind via Shutterstock