The project will include eleven of the world’s largest and most powerful turbines, and will test the latest generation of offshore wind technology. The first of the project's super-sized wind turbines was installed in April. The 191-metre-high structure has three blades, each 80 metres in length. A single rotation of these blades is capable of generating enough electricity to power an average UK home for a day.
The EOWDC is being developed by Vattenfall, but the UK owns the largest number of wind turbines installed in the North Sea, with 43% of the count, according to data from WindEurope.
As UK Chamber of Shipping, Communications Manager, Holly Birkett noted, a total of €18.2 billion (£16 billion) was invested in offshore wind projects in Europe during 2016, which financed a record 5GW of new capacity that year. This investment decreased to €7.5 billion (£6.6 billion) in 2017 due to projects being postponed in Germany. But this slowdown will probably be a short-term phenomenon.
European offshore wind installations comprise 4,149 turbines across 92 windfarms owned by 11 different countries. By 2024, estimates say that 20% of all European offshore activity will be wind-related.
Falling costs have driven this massive build-out in the North Sea and have allowed European Governments to tender projects without the need for subsidies. Over the past three years, the cost of investing in wind farms has been reduced to half, resulting in growth of projects in terms of capital expenditure and size.
Moreover, offshore wind projects are becoming increasingly attractive to institutional investors. Namely, $9.36 billion (£6.9 billion) of stakes in these facilities were sold last year, up 77% from 2016, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance. A record-high 23 acquisition deals were recorded in 2017, almost all of which were in Europe.
However, the sector’s rapid growth experiences some constraints from its shipping service providers, as regulation is still catching up.