News item | 2010-01-27 | 11:05 AM

Vattenfall drives home last foundation on world's largest offshore wind farm

Vattenfall, the Swedish energy company, reached an important milestone in its drive towards climate neutrality at the weekend when it drove home the last foundation of what will be, when built, the largest offshore wind farm in the world.

The 100th foundation, or monopile, of the Thanet Offshore Wind Farm was driven into the seabed off the Kent coast at 2.00 pm on Saturday, 23 January. The first monopile was driven into the seabed in March 2009.

Each monopile is a steel cylinder, 4.1 to 4.9 metres in diameter and 50 to 60 metres long. Monopiles on the Thanet Offshore Wind Farm have been sunk between 25 and 30 metres into the English Channel’s seabed and typically weigh 350 to 485 tonnes.

Ole Bigum Nielsen, Head of Offshore Wind with Vattenfall Wind Power in the UK, said: “We are on track to build what will be, when built, the world’s largest offshore wind farm. The foundations work has been an engineering challenge requiring large ocean-going vessels, enormous cranes and more than 40,000 tonnes of steel.

“We have needed 1.25 million hours of work, much of it from local people, to get to this stage and I would like to thank all of the contractors for their sterling efforts since we started foundations work less than 12 months ago.”

The construction of the 300 megawatt (MW) Thanet Offshore Wind Farm, 12 kilometres off Foreness Point, started in early 2009. Currently, 19 Vestas 3MW V90 wind turbines have been erected and 86 transition pieces, which allow the wind turbine to slot into the monopile, have been put in place.

Construction is been co-ordinated from the new operations centre at Ramsgate.

Vattenfall plans to generate electricity for the first time from Thanet Offshore Wind Farm later this year.

Facts about Thanet Offshore Wind Farm

  • The connection of Thanet Offshore Wind Farm’s 300MW of capacity in 2010 will boost UK offshore wind capacity by more than 30% and will produce on average enough electricity to supply the equivalent of 240,000 UK homes with clean electricity annually
  • The wind farm will be located in water depths of 20-25m and cover an area of 35km2.
  • There will be 100 wind turbines
  • The nearest turbine will be located approx 12km north east of Foreness Point.
  • Each turbine would be up to 115m tall at its highest point, with a minimum clearance above sea level of 22m.
  • The distance between turbines would be approximately 500m along rows and 800m between rows.

From Vattenfall’s press department, telephone +46 8 739 50 10