The 576MW Gwynt y Môr wind farm in Liverpool Bay has been officially inaugurated, promising to supply 400,000 households with renewable power.
With 160 turbines, the RWE-operated Gwynt y Môr is the second-largest offshore wind farm in the world, after the London Array.
“Gwynt y Môr is a huge achievement and will continue to bring a number of benefits to the North Wales region,” said Carwyn Jones, First Minister of Wales. “Local companies have been among those to benefit during construction and the site will bring high-quality employment and opportunities for years to come.”
RWE contributed 60 per cent to the construction of the £2bn wind farm with German utility Stadtwerke München contributing another 30 per cent. Engineering giant Siemens added the remaining 10 per cent towards the cost of the construction.
“The expansion of renewable energy is one of our main growth areas,” said Peter Terium, RWE AG’s chief executive officer. “We currently expect to invest over €1bn up to 2017 in growing renewables, with wind power at the forefront of that investment.”
The Gwynt y Môr wind farm extends over an area of some 80 square kilometres. Each of the 150m tall turbines supplied by Siemens has a capacity of 3.6MW. The monopile foundations supporting the structures weigh about 700 tonnes each and are anchored up to 28 metres below the sea surface. RWE and its contractors installed two massive offshore substations each weighing 1,300 tonnes and laid 134 kilometres of onshore cables to support the power plant.
It has been estimated the construction of the wind farm contributed more than £90m to Welsh economy in contracts for local companies during construction. Local firms are expected to benefit from the operations throughout the life time of the plant.