The project is located in the Irish Sea, around 19 km off the Walney Island coast in Cumbria, and will feature 207 turbines with capacities between 3 MW and 8 MW. It is planned to extend the existing 367 MW Walney offshore wind farm, commissioned in 2012.
Developer Dong Energy says it plans to split the project into two 330-MW phases, with MHI Vestas to supply its V164-8 MW turbines – currently the world’s largest offshore turbines – for phase 1. The V164-8 MW is 220 metres tall and has a rotor diameter of 164 metres.
In addition, the firm will supply the turbine blades from its UK factory based on the Isle of Wight. The UK, which is the world leader in installed offshore wind capacity, is keen to develop local manufacturing of wind power components as a means of job creation, and wind turbine OEMs are equally keen on the idea as manufacturing close to project sites reduces costs.
In January the GROW:OffshoreWind initiative, a collaboration between accountancy firm Grant Thornton, the government-backed Manufacturing Advisory Service, trade body RenewableUK and the University of Sheffield, said it had provided £7m ($10.8m) in support and capital funding to manufacturers looking to enter the UK’s wind sector supply chain. The programme says it aims to raise awareness of how UK-based firms can take advantage of opportunities in the offshore wind industry.
Energy secretary Ed Davey commented: “We want to see a strong supply chain here in the UK to drive down costs and create even more jobs. I look forward to MHI Vestas Offshore Wind realizing their ambition to build a sustainable UK manufacturing base.”
Dong Energy Wind Power executive vice-president Samuel Leupold said: “A competitive market for all components is essential to the industry in order to lower the cost of offshore wind power. I appreciate MHI Vestas Offshore Wind’s efforts in establishing production close to the site by manufacturing the blades for the Walney Extension project in its UK factory.”
MHI Vestas is a joint venture between Denmark’s Vestas Wind Systems and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, formed in 2013.