Fast growth in the size of offshore wind turbines has been highlighted by Vattenfall, the developer of the proposed Norfolk Vanguard offshore windfarm in the UK, which is considering using turbines of up to 20 MW for the project.
Kicking off the consultation process for Norfolk Vanguard, Vattenfall said it was considering using between 90 and 257 turbines with generating capacity of 7-20 MW each for the project.
20 MW is far larger – more than twice the size – of any turbine currently installed on any windfarm and well beyond the size and generating capacity of those currently available.
The company is not committed to using any type or size of turbine at the moment, but evidently feels confident that much larger turbines will be available within the project timeframe. Norfolk Vanguard would not be up and running until the mid-2020s.
The potential of much larger, new-generation turbines has been cited as one reason that the cost of offshore wind energy is falling so quickly, enabling low and zero-subsidy bids to become established.
The Swedish energy group has published its statutory consultation plans for the 1.8 GW Norfolk Vanguard project, known as a statement of community consultation. It has also set out, in a newsletter, its latest thinking on onshore infrastructure for the windfarm.
When up and running in the mid-2020s, Vattenfall says Norfolk Vanguard will produce enough fossil-free electricity every year to meet the equivalent annual electricity demand of 1.3 million UK households, almost 5% of UK household demand.
Norfolk Boreas, Norfolk Vanguard’s sister project, is in an earlier phase of the UK’s nationally significant infrastructure planning process and its environmental impact assessment is ongoing.