Huge wind farm opens off North Sea coast

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The fifth biggest wind farm in the world has opened off the Norfolk and Lincolnshire coast, with 91 huge turbines.

The Race Bank development will be capable of powering more than half a million UK homes, according to the Danish energy firm Orsted.

The turbines are the first to use the massive 75-metre blades made at the pioneering Siemens Gamesa blade factory in Hull.

(PA Graphics)

It is operated from Orsted’s East Coast base in Grimsby and features a new way of carrying out offshore maintenance, using a state-of-the-art Service Operation Vessel (SOV) that remains offshore with technicians working shifts of 14 days on and 14 days off.

The SOV only comes into Grimsby every fortnight to change crews.

Matthew Wright, managing director at Orsted UK, said: “Race Bank is a fantastic infrastructure project and underlines Orsted’s contribution to the UK’s energy transition.

“It’s also another clear signal of our firm commitment to Grimsby and the Humber, and the UK supply chain for offshore wind.

“Race Bank is a hugely significant and innovative project, featuring the first ever turbine blades to be made in Hull and becoming our first wind farm in the UK to be operated using a new Service Operation Vessel.”

Mr Wright said: “Powering over half a million homes every year, Race Bank is another positive step towards delivering the UK’s decarbonised energy system of the future.”

Race Bank is 50% owned by Orsted with the other 50% owned by a consortium of investors.

The wind farm, which covers 75km2, is capable of generating 573 megawatts and is the firm’s 10th UK offshore wind farm.

Orsted said its wind farm together produce in excess of 3,000 MW of energy – enough to power 2.7 million UK homes.

In comparison, the UK’s biggest power station, Drax – which burns coal and biomass wood pellets – is capable of producing 3,870 MW.

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