UK's first offshore wind farm at Blyth Harbour in Northumberland is now operational. The £4 million project is a landmark for both the UK and the wind energy industry. Two of the largest machines erected offshore in the world are placed in a demanding position, subjected to the full forces of the North Sea. Each Vestas V66 turbine is capable of generating 2 megawatts of electricity and in total will provide enough electricity to power 3,000 households annually.
The two wind turbines are erected one kilometre off the coast of Blyth, Northumberland, close to the existing Blyth Harbour wind farm in an average water depth of eight metres. The Blyth Offshore project will have a follow on research based project undertaken over the course of the first two years operation of the turbines. Special instrumentation has been installed on one of the turbines, which will allow detailed monitoring of structural forces on the turbines during the varied wind/wave conditions, which are to be expected at the site.
UK is one of the windiest countries in Europe and has enough offshore wind theoretically to supply three times the UK's current electricity requirements. UK companies have the potential to be fully involved in the manufacturing and installation of offshore wind farms. In a recent consultation document published by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), a potential for installing more than £6 billion of offshore wind farms around the UK was suggested.