The London Array is Masdar’s largest renewable energy project to date, but the government-supported research and development group have no intention of stopping there. With a 20 percent stake in the offshore wind project that will generate enough energy to power half a million UK homes, the group is ready to keep up the momentum.
Construction on the 630MW began in July 2009 with the first onshore substation. The first 147 meter tall turbine designed by Siemens was erected in January, 2012 and now, just over a year later, all 175 of them are fully functional.
Masdar agreed to join Germany’s E.On and Dong from Denmark when Shell pulled out. This is consistent with the firm’s mission to spread renewable energy to all reaches of the globe – including the Seychelles and Mauritania, where Africa’s largest solar PV plant was recently inaugurated.
Located 20km off the southeastern coast of Kent in the Thames Estuary, the London Array is officially the world’s largest wind farm. But it won’t be for long as a host of new farms are planned not just in the UK, but also in Germany, Sweden and elsewhere.
Getting to this point was an incredible engineering feat. At any given time during construction, 60 vessels and 1,000 people were on site. It took one to two days or 12 hours to erect one turbine in sound weather, and 200km worth of cabling was laid to evacuate the energy generated by the immense turbines.
The second phase of the £2.2 billion project is expected to begin soon. When that is complete, the London Array will produce a whopping 1,000MW.
A host of dignitaries were present at the plant’s official opening ceremony, including Prime Minister David Cameron, whose coalition has welcomed a variety of investments from Arabian Gulf states.
“The United Arab Emirates has a strong legacy in the energy sector,” said Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed, UAE Minister of Foreign Affairs.
“We believe that by addressing energy security balancing the sources of power we rely on we can also create economic and social opportunity. Through Masdar, the UAE is seriously addressing this goal.”
:: The National