A large offshore wind farm with huge turbines starts generating electricity


With the development of technology, the size of wind turbines increases. This picture does not show the type of turbine used at Triton Knoll.

Rini Kools | iStock | Getty Images

A large wind farm off the British east coast with huge turbines has generated its first electricity. This is the latest example of the technology in the sector growing in size.

The 857 megawatt (MW) Triton Knoll offshore wind farm can provide electricity to more than 800,000 households in the UK once it is fully operational, according to a statement on the project’s website.

9.5 MW turbines from the Danish company Vestas with a top height of around 187 meters are used in the development.

On its website, Triton Knoll has described Vestas turbines as “among the most powerful in the world” capable of providing power to a typical British household for more than 29 hours with a single rotation of the blade.

RWE, Kansai Electric Power and J-Power are co-owners of Triton Knoll, with RWE being responsible for the management of construction, operation and maintenance.

In the North Sea, where Triton Knoll is located, there are now a number of large offshore wind turbines.

These include the 1.2 gigawatts (GW) Hornsea One facility located in waters off Yorkshire, England, which uses 190-meter-high wind turbines.

The major projects planned for the North Sea include the Dogger Bank wind farm with a total capacity of 3.6 GW and the 3.1 GW East Anglia Hub.

Great Britain No. 1, but China not far behind

The news of the development at Triton Knoll helps to consolidate the position of Great Britain as the world market leader in the offshore wind sector.

According to the latest information from the Global Wind Energy Council, it is currently the No. 1 market for cumulative offshore wind turbines with a capacity in excess of 10.2 GW. However, China is close behind with almost 10 GW installations.

The world added more than 6 gigawatts (GW) of new offshore wind capacity in 2020, with China responsible for more than half of those assets, according to GWEC.

With the development of technology, the size of wind turbines has increased. For example, GE Renewable Energy’s Haliade-X turbine is 260 meters high and can be configured for 12, 13 or 14 MW.

Elsewhere, Vestas has announced plans for a 15 MW offshore wind turbine. The company hopes to install a prototype next year before ramping up production in 2024 while Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy is working on a 14 MW turbine, which can also be increased to 15 MW if needed. Both Vestas and Siemens Gamesa state that the height of their turbines will be site-specific.