One of world’s biggest offshore wind farms gears up for full operation

One of the turbines at the Triton Knoll offshore wind farm, located off the east coast of England.

Ian Greenwood

Commissioning of turbines at one of the world’s largest offshore wind farms has been completed and full operations are expected to begin in the first quarter of 2022, according to German power utility RWE.

The 857 megawatt Triton Knoll offshore wind farm is located in waters off the east coast of England and uses 90 wind turbines from Danish company Vestas.

In a statement on Thursday, RWE said Triton Knoll would generate “enough electricity to meet the needs of around 800,000 homes each year”. Investment in the project is approximately £2 billion (approximately $2.74 billion).

RWE holds a 59% stake in Triton Knoll. Its other owners are Kansai Electric Power and J-Power, which hold 16% and 25% of the shares respectively. RWE is responsible for the construction, operation and maintenance of the project.

Triton Knoll produced its first power in March 2021 and its last turbine was installed last September.

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The North Sea, where Triton Knoll is located, is home to a number of large-scale offshore wind installations. These include the 1.2 gigawatt Hornsea One development, which is located in the waters off Yorkshire and uses 174 turbines.

Going forward, major projects planned for the North Sea include the Dogger Bank Wind Farm, which will have a total capacity of 3.6 GW when completed. The development of the project takes place in three phases.

British authorities want 40 GW of offshore wind capacity by 2030. The European Union, which the UK left in January 2020, is targeting 300 GW of offshore wind by the middle of this century.

Across the Atlantic, the United States has a long way to go to catch up with Europe. America’s first offshore wind facility, the 30-megawatt Block Island Wind Farm in the waters off Rhode Island, did not begin commercial operations until late 2016.

Change, however, seems to be coming. In November, a project dubbed the “first commercial-scale offshore wind farm” in the United States was launched.

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