The world’s single-largest wind farm gets the green light

Danish renewables giant Ørsted just committed to building the world’s single-largest offshore wind farm, Hornsea 3.

The world’s single-largest wind farm

The 2.9 GW Hornsea 3, located 160 km (99 miles) off the Yorkshire coast, is expected to be completed at the end of 2027. It will be Ørsted’s third gigawatt-scale project in the UK’s Hornsea zone, following 1.2 GW Hornsea 1 and 1.3 GW Hornsea 2 (pictured above); both are already online.

That means the Hornsea trio will have a total capacity of 5.4 GW, making it the world’s largest operating offshore wind zone. And that won’t be it – Ørsted’s Hornsea 4 project, which could have a capacity of up to 2.6 GW, is also in the pipeline. Hornsea 4 received its development consent order from the British government earlier in 2023.

The 231-turbine Hornsea 3 will have the capacity to power more than 3.3 million UK homes and is expected to cost between $10.3 and $11 billion).

Why Hornsea 3 almost didn’t happen

Ørsted’s Hornsea 3 plans were jeopardized by the rising cost of materials, higher interest rates, and supply chain delays.

Further, last year, the British government offered a guaranteed price for power of £37.35 per MWh in inflation-indexed 2012 money. As a result of that low rate, an offshore wind auction in September failed to attract a single bid, so the government says it will increase the price to £73 per MWh at its next auction. Ørsted can submit up to 700 MW of Hornsea 3’s capacity in future bidding rounds, which will enable it to double the offtake price.

Ørsted also said that “most of the capital expenditure for Hornsea 3 was contracted ahead of recent inflationary pressures, securing competitive prices from the supply chain and allowing time to work collaboratively on value creation opportunities.”

Read more: Ørsted just axed plans for two New Jersey offshore wind farms – here’s why

Map: Ørsted; Photo: Hornsea project

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