Uk's Largest Offshore Wind Farm Opens

The UK's offshore wind energy revolution continued yesterday with the official opening of the 172MW Gunfleet Sands offshore wind farm in the Thames Estuary off the Essex coast.

The wind farm, which has been fully operational since March, was formally inaugurated by Danish energy company Dong Energy at a ceremony at the site attended by energy minister Charles Hendry.

Hendry hailed the 48 turbine development as a forerunner for a host of new large-scale offshore wind farms.

"Our island is surrounded by some of the windiest coast in the world and that’s a resource we've got to use," he said. "I want to make sure we grab all the opportunities the rapidly expanding offshore wind industry has to offer, and that offshore wind power can come of age under this government."

Dong Energy said the new wind farm would provide enough energy each year to match the annual power consumption of around 125,000 British households.

Anders Eldrup, chief executive of Dong Energy, said that the new wind farm underlined the company's position as the "market leader in terms of building offshore wind farms".

The company already operates the 90MW Burbo Bank offshore wind farm in Liverpool Bay and holds a 50 per cent stake in the 90MW Barrows wind farm alongside energy giant Centrica.

It is also holds stakes in the planned Walney and Lincs offshore wind farms and is part of the consortium working on the 1GW Thames Array. The company announced last week that it had secured a £250m loan from the European Investment Bank to help finance the Thames Array project, which when completed is expected to be the largest offshore wind farm in the world.  This should all start to lead to cheaperbusiness electricity.