The world’s second largest offshore wind farm was officially inaugurated in Wales today.
The £2 billion ($3.2 billion) Gwynt y Môr wind farm, located eight miles off of Liverpool Bay, consists of 160 wind turbines made by Germany’s Siemens AG. It will produce enough electricity for around 400,000 residential households annually, making it the world’s second largest offshore wind energy producer.
The project has been in development since 2003, while construction has been underway since 2012. In total, the wind farm stretches over an 80 square kilometer (31 square mile) area. Each turbine rises 150 meters (492 feet) above sea level and has a steel foundation weighing in at 700 tons. The turbines were installed by installation vessels in waters up to 28 meters (92 feet) deep. Additionally, contractors installed two massive offshore stations and around 134 kilometers (83 miles) of onshore cable.
Carwyn Jones, First Minister of Wales said: “Gwynt y Môr is a huge achievement and will continue to bring a number of benefits to the North Wales region. Local companies have been among those to benefit during construction and the site will bring high quality employment and opportunities for years to come.”
The Gwynt y Môr project provided a significant boost to the Welsh economy during the construction phase, with over £90million in business opportunities allocated to Welsh firms. Additionally, the wind farm will create and support 100 skilled engineering jobs in the Wales area.
Today’s celebrations were held at Gwynt y Môr Operations & Maintenance base, which was newly constructed at the Port of Mostyn.
The wind farm is a joint investment between RWE (60%), Stadtwerke Munchen (30%) and Siemens (10%). The new wind project has made RWE to the third largest player in the European Offshore Market. RWE AG’s Chief Executive Officer, Peter Terium said, “the expansion of renewable energy is one of our main growth areas. We currently expect to invest over £1 billion ($1.6 billion) up to 2017 in growing renewables, with wind power at the forefront of that investment.”