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David Cameron opens world’s largest offshore wind farm

UK prime minister David Cameron has officially opened the world’s largest offshore wind farm, the London Array, located in the Outer Thames Estuary.

The London Array is located around 20 km off the coasts of Kent and Essex on a 100 km2 site. Its 175 Siemens 3.6 MW turbines have a combined capacity of 630 MW and are expected to produce enough electricity to power over half a million UK homes each year.

The wind farm, which is run by a consortium comprising DONG Energy, E.ON and Masdar, began construction in July 2009 when work started to build a new onshore substation on the north Kent coast to flow the energy generated by London Array straight into the national grid. It first started generating power in October 2012. The 175th turbine was bought online in March 2013 and the site is now at full operation. It could now supply around 500,000 UK homes with electricity each year.

"This is a great day for Kent and a great day for Britain,” said Cameron. “London Array has been built by some of the bravest seamen, the most talented engineers and hardest workers. It will bring benefits to Kent for years to come."

With the addition of London Array, DONG Energy has now installed enough offshore wind in the UK to power one million homes. “This project is also a real milestone on the path to cutting the cost of offshore wind, said Brent Cheshire, UK country chairman, DONG Energy. “As projects get even bigger and move further offshore, we must continue to harvest the advantages of scale to bring down the costs.”

“We firmly believe that electricity from renewable sources has a vital part to play in helping us deliver energy in a way that is sustainable, affordable and secure,” said Tony Cocker, CEO of E.ON UK. “That’s why, as we learn and improve from each wind farm that we build, we’re aiming to reduce the cost of offshore wind by 40% by 2015.”

“Projects like London Array demonstrate the economic opportunity of large-scale renewable energy projects – from the direct investment they attract to the industries they strengthen,” said Dr Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, CEO of Masdar. “London Array also exemplifies what can be achieved through smart policies and strong partnerships.”

DONG Energy owns 50%, E.ON has 30% and Masdar has a 20% stake in the project.

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