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New offshore wind farm breezes along to hit full capacity

Orsted’s Race Bank Offshore Wind Farm, located off the north Norfolk coast. Picture: Alasdair Smith/Courtesy of Orsted

Orsted’s Race Bank Offshore Wind Farm, located off the north Norfolk coast. Picture: Alasdair Smith/Courtesy of Orsted

Alasdair Smith

A wind farm off the north Norfolk coast has reached full capacity just six weeks after the last of its 91 turbines was installed.

Maximum output has been achieved at Ørsted’s Race Bank Offshore Wind Farm, which is about 21 kilometres north of Blakeney Point.

Installation of the turbines started in May last year, and, following 240-hour acceptance tests, the wind farm is now capable of hitting its top output of 573 megawatts.

During the commissioning process of the final turbines, Race Bank also passed the one terawatt hour of production mark.

David Summers, the wind farm’s project director, said: “Full power and one terawatt hour of production are two fantastic milestones and have been achieved by the hard work and dedication of a significant number of people.

“Full power means that Race Bank can now produce enough green energy to power more than half a million UK homes.

“Not only have we achieved full power on schedule, but we have also done so safely, without compromising our high standards. I now look forward to completing final activities on Race Bank and being able to officially open the project in the summer.”

The turbines sit at a maximum water depth of 26 metres.

Race Bank will be Ørsted’s (formerly Dong Energy) first offshore wind farm to use a new service operation vessel for operations and maintenance.

The ship can stay at sea with the operations and maintenance team for up to 28 days at a time.

The wind farm is connected to land by undersea cables laid out from Walpole in the Wash.

In 2015, the firm MMT was contracted to clear the cable route of an possible unexploded ordnance, and they found more than 40 bombs from the Second World War.

They were then either removed or destroyed in place.

Many of the wind farm’s 6MW Siemens turbines feature the first blades to be manufactured at the Siemens blade factory in Hull.

The first step towards the wind farm was made in 2002, when the government designated the Greater Wash strategic area as potential offshore wind farm development region.

Do you have a story about an energy project in your area? Email reporter Stuart Anderson at stuart.anderson@archant.co.uk

MORE: North Norfolk offshore wind farm on track to be up and running in new year after final turbine is installed

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