The Walney offshore wind farm, when opened on 9th February 2012, became the largest offshore wind farm in the world with a generating capacity of 367 MW. Built at a cost of around $1.9 billion, this wind farm off the coast of Crumbia in UK is jointly owned by Dong Energy, SSE, Ampere Equity Fund & PGGM.
The wind farm is spread over an area of more than 70 sq. km. and consists of two parts, Walney 1 & Walney 2. A total of 102 turbines, each of 3.6 MW capacity, deliver the total output of the farm that is claimed to be the cheapest offshore wind farm built so far.
However, the record is unlikely to last long as construction for the 1000MW London Array Wind Farm, off North Foreland in Kent, is already underway. The first phase of the project (630MW) is scheduled for completion within this year. The project, being developed by London Array Ltd., is co-owned by Dong Energy, E. ON UK Renewables & Masdar. The project, to be built at an estimated cost of $3.5 billion, would have a total of 341 turbines, each of 3.6MW capacity.
When it comes to onshore wind projects, the Roscoe Wind Farm in USA is the World’s largest with a generating capacity of 781MW. Now, this one too is facing competition from other ongoing onshore wind projects. The Shepherd’s Wind Farm in Oregon, USA, scheduled to be completed by mid 2012, would dethrone Roscoe Wind Farm to grab the top slot with a generating capacity of 845 MW.
But all these projects look like liliputs when the Gulliver of wind projects shows up. The ongoing Gansu Wind Farm, also called as the Jiuquan Wind Power Base, would reportedly generate a staggering 12.7 GW by 2015 and some 20GW by 2020. These figures are projections only, but if materialise would leave the rest far behind. Gansu Wind Farm is a group of many wind farms spread over a large expanse. Construction began in 2009 and the cost of the entire project is estimated at $17.5 billion.
One of the major sources of alternative or renewable energy, wind energy is gaining considerable popularity of late. Some estimates project global wind power generating capacity to grow to over 1700GW by 2030 from the present gross capacity of 200 plus GW.