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The World’s Largest Wind Farm, Hornsea 2, to Start Producing Power

The Hornsea 2 offshore wind farm in the United Kingdom's North Sea, owned by the Danish energy company Ørsted, has generated its first electricity. Ørsted stated that the project's offshore substation (OSS) and reactive compensation station (RCS) will be completed in late 2021, pending final approval from the Department of Energy.

The Hornsea 2 offshore wind farm in the United Kingdom’s North Sea, owned by the Danish energy company Ørsted, has generated its first electricity. Ørsted stated that the project’s offshore substation (OSS) and reactive compensation station (RCS) will be completed in late 2021, pending final approval from the Department of Energy. Following that, the Danish company and its partners have been hard at work getting the Hornsea 2 offshore wind farm up and running ahead of its expected operational date in 2022.

The Hornsea Two is being built in the UK’s Hornsea Zone in the North Sea. The wind farm, which has a total capacity of 1.4GW, is planned to be the largest of its kind in the world. Ørsted acquired the project’s rights in August 2015 with the acquisition of SmartWind, a 50/50 joint venture between Mainstream Renewable Power and Siemens Financial Services. In 2012, the project’s scoping study was completed and the Planning Inspectorate (PINS) conducted an assessment of the consent application, which was concluded in March 2016 and submitted to the PINS in January 2015. In August 2016, the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change approved the project’s development consent, and the project’s final investment decision was made in September 2017. In addition to creating around 2,000 jobs during construction, the project is estimated to generate an additional 130 jobs over the course of its 25-year operational life. 

A total of 373 kilometers of array cables will be used to transport the electricity generated by the project’s 165 wind turbines, each of which has an 8 MW capacity, to the offshore substation and the reactive compensation station. The electricity generated will then be transmitted to the national grid via 390 kilometers of offshore and 40 kilometers of onshore export cables, which will end at the Killingholme onshore substation. The Hornsea Two offshore wind farm, which is about 89 kilometers off the coast of Yorkshire, will be capable of supplying electricity to more than 1.3 million homes. Furthermore, it will contribute to the reduction of approximately 1.9 million tonnes of CO2 and 46,000 tonnes of SO2 emissions per year through carbon offsets. Hornsea One offshore wind farm, with a capacity of 1.2 gigatonnes, has been in operation since June 2019. The combined capacity of the two Hornsea projects will be sufficient to meet the energy requirements of more than 2.3 million homes. 

According to Patrick Harnett, Programme Director for Hornsea 2, “Achieving first power is an important milestone for the project and a proud moment for the entire team. Construction of a project of this size and scope is only possible through strong collaboration, hard work, and dedication on the part of everyone involved. In the coming weeks and months, we will complete the installation of the remaining turbines and continue testing, commissioning, and energizing our wind farm through the end of the current year. Thanks to everyone who worked tirelessly throughout the pandemic in order to keep the project moving forward”.

In a statement, Duncan Clark, Head of Region UK at Ørsted, said: “Climate change is one of the most serious threats facing the world today, and we believe that one of the most effective ways to combat it is to deploy renewable energy resources on a much larger scale than has previously been possible. The United Kingdom is the world leader in offshore wind, and our Hornsea projects have contributed to the development of the next generation of offshore wind farms. This achievement on Hornsea 2 is a testament to the incredible talent and dedication of everyone who has contributed to this project”.

Contractors involved in the construction of Hornsea Two

Siemens Gamesa was awarded a contract to supply 165 wind turbines for the Hornsea Two wind power plant in the United Kingdom. Turbine blades will be manufactured at its facility in Hull, and the company plans to begin installing the turbines in 2021. The RPS Group was tasked with conducting environmental impact assessments on all the Hornsea projects. In August 2018, Balfour Beatty was awarded the contract to build the onshore substation for the project, which will be completed in 2022.

As part of an agreement with Ørsted signed in February 2018, Prysmian Group was awarded a contract for the design, manufacture, supply, and testing of submarine inter-array cable systems. For the Hornsea Project Two, JDR Cable Systems was awarded a contract in August 2018 to supply inter-array cables and perform termination work. The contract was signed in August 2018.

ABB has been awarded a contract worth $150 million to connect the Hornsea Project Two wind farm to the United Kingdom’s power grid. For the project site, Fugro was contracted by Ørsted in July 2018 to conduct marine site characterisation work, which included geotechnical site investigation, as well as other services.

Hornsea Project Two wind farm offshore substations and reactive compensation stations were designed by Semco Maritime, who was hired as an electrical engineering consultant (EEC) to develop mechanical and electrical basic engineering designs for the wind farm’s offshore substation and reactive compensation station. In November 2018, Ørsted awarded a contract to Nexans for the supply of 200km of 245kV HVAC subsea export cable for the near-shore section of the Hornsea 2 wind farm. The contract was signed in 2018.

It was announced in June 2020 that CHC Helicopter had been contracted by Ørsted to provide aviation services during the construction and operation phases of the Hornsea Two offshore wind farm. The Leonardo AW139 and AW169 will be used for cargo flights as well as crew transfers, according to the company. In 2019, a helicopter terminal and personnel handling facility adjacent to the Hornsea Two onshore construction site officially opened its doors to the general public.

An agreement with Fussey Engineering for the supply and installation of steel framework and cladding at the National Grid 400kV substation site has also been signed. AMS Trenchless Specialists was contracted to perform horizontal directional drilling (HDD) at the Horseshoe Point landfall site in order to install ducting and cables.

In conclusion, a further two projects in the Hornsea Zone are currently in the planning stage, with Hornsea 3 receiving a Development Consent Order in December 2020 and Hornsea 4 currently in the planning stage of the planning process. The projects would make a significant contribution to the UK government’s goal of achieving net-zero emissions by 2050. The building of offshore wind farms, which takes years and entails significant risks and expenses, is a primary focus for Ørsted, along with other large utilities. As soon as the wind farms are connected to the grid and start producing power on a consistent basis, they can be sold to infrastructure investors and pension funds at a high profit. As authorities look for alternatives to fossil fuels, renewable and low-carbon energy enterprises are drawing high valuations from cash-rich investors who predict consistent development in the sector.

Feel free to contact the Energy Transition Centre today with questions. 

·  Julius Moerder, Head of Energy Transition Centre

·  Oneyka Ojogbo, Head of Energy Transition Centre, Nigeria & West Africa

·  Leon van Der Merwe, Head of Energy Transition Centre, South Africa