The North Sea’s first offshore wind turbine farm is now officially open.
One kilometre off the coast of Blyth, Northumberland, two turbines, each of two Megawatt-capacity are subject to waves which can reach heights of 6.5 metres, wind speeds of up to 100 miles an hour and a tidal range of 4.5 metres in a water depth of 5.8 metres.
Blyth Offshore Wind Limited, a consortium comprising AMEC Border Wind, Powergen Renewables, Nuon UK and Shell Renewables built the £4-million system.
The two turbines were lifted into place, with blade tips 90 metres above sea level, in September and started generating electricity in mid November.
The electricity is transferred via undersea cables to the national grid at Blyth and can produce enough power to supply the needs of 3,000 households.
A recent consultation document published by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) stated that the ‘practicable resource for UK offshore wind is 100 Terawatt hours per year’ –one third of the UK’s annual electricity consumption.