(AFP) – A wind farm that would be the largest in the world and power more than a million homes has been given the go-ahead in Britain.
Offshore wind developer Dong Energy said Wednesday a final decision had been made to construct the 1.2 gigawatt Hornsea Project One scheme off the coast of Yorkshire in northern England.
Scheduled for completion by 2020, the giant development would span 160 square miles (407 square kilometres) and use 174 wind turbines, each one 190 metres tall — higher than London’s landmark “Gherkin” tower.
“It is ground-breaking and innovative, powering more homes than any offshore wind farm currently in operation,” said Brent Cheshire, Dong Energy’s UK country chairman.
“To have the world’s biggest ever offshore wind farm located off the Yorkshire coast is hugely significant, and highlights the vital role offshore wind will play in the UK’s need for new low-carbon energy.”
Wind energy has grown rapidly in Britain in the past decade, helped by strong winds and suitable geography, now producing 10 percent of Britain’s energy needs, according to trade group RenewableUK.
The industry body said that the development would help Britain to meet pledges to limit greenhouse gas emissions made at the World Climate Change Conference 2015 (COP21) in Paris last year.
“This offshore wind farm will play an important part in meeting our Paris climate commitments, but will also help create the new energy infrastructure this country desperately needs,” said RenewableUK deputy chief executive Maf Smith.
The construction of Hornsea Project One will provide 2,000 jobs, and it will employ 300 people once the scheme is finished, according to Dong Energy.
The government has agreed to guarantee to underwrite a price of £140 (184 euros, $204) to give Dong Energy investment certainty.
Amber Rudd, the energy and climate change secretary, said government help meant “the UK is the world leader in offshore wind energy and this success story is going from strength to strength.”
“DONG Energy’s investment shows that we are open for business and is a vote of confidence in the UK and in our plan to tackle the legacy of under-investment and build an energy infrastructure fit for the 21st century,” Rudd added.