If you’ve ever wondered where those huge turbine blades come from, then MHI Vestas are one of the few companies based in the UK that make them. Their brand new power blades are now being transported to Belfast to form part of the 258 MW Burbo Bank expansion project that will provide power for thousands more homes.
MHI Vestas are, at the moment, the only UK factory producing such components for the wind turbine market and, surprisingly, it’s the first time locally produced ones have been made and delivered to a UK project. With a number of offshore wind farms either expanding or under construction around the coast, it’s good news for the industry in the UK to have access to a local supplier.
What is Burbo Bank?
This is an existing offshore wind power plant situated off the coast of Liverpool on the Burbo Banks. It currently delivers 90 MW of capacity and has been operating for the last nine years. When a licence to expand the site was agreed for Dong Energy, Vestas were contacted to produce 32 turbines. The eventual capacity of Burbo Bank extension will be about 210 MW and provide electricity for thousands of homes across the UK.
Burbo Bank is an ideal place for wind farm development because of its shallow water depth which makes construction easier and the good general wind speeds all year around. The power blades from Vestas have now been delivered to Belfast where the turbines will be constructed and then transported to the Burbo Bank site.
Dong Energy is one of the biggest players in the world when it comes to wind power and have been involved in a number of major constructions over the last 20 years. While they also undertake oil and gas explorations, their portfolio has adapted and is more and more moving towards a renewable mix with the focus on wind power, biomass and thermal power.
About MHI Vestas
The company was set up during the Spring of 2014 so is a pretty new to the renewable energy market. A Danish outfit with a commitment to developing green technologies, they are hoping to be at the forefront of wind turbine development over the next few decades.
Jens Tommerup, the company CEO, said recently:
“It’s a significant milestone for the industry to see the world’s largest blades in serial production arriving in Belfast ready for installation. This marks the first time locally manufactured major components for offshore wind turbines are being used in the UK.”
The extension to the Burbo Bank site was welcomed by new business and energy secretary Greg Clark who has had his hands full in recent times over Hinkley Point nuclear power station. While on shore wind power has suffered with a mix of governmental reluctance and protests over the development of turbines on farmland, off shore has generally thrived. Around the UK there are now some 6,857 wind turbines delivering a total capacity of 13.9 GW, over 5 GW of this for off shore. By the end of December 2015, wind power was providing 17% of the energy mix in the UK which bodes well for the future.
Find out more about wind power.