Colin Hood, SSE’s Chief Operating Officer, said: "This is a major milestone in the development of Walney and Greater Gabbard offshore wind power plants. As the UK’s leading generator of electricity from renewable sources, SSE is committed to helping to increase further the amount of renewable electricity generation in the UK, and the export of electricity at Walney and Greater Gabbard is a step towards achieving this."
Greater Gabbard offshore wind farm, in which SSE owns a 50% stake, is being developed with RWE npower renewables, the UK subsidiary of RWE Innogy. It is located approximately 23km off the Suffolk coast, in the North Sea. The first three wind turbines have now been energised and have exported electricity to the national grid.
Paul Coffey, Chief Operating Officer at RWE Innogy, said: "We are delighted to have reached this stage in the wind power project. Constructing a wind farm of this size is a complex task but once fully operational, Greater Gabbard will be the world’s largest offshore wind farm."
Walney offshore wind farm, in which SSE owns a 25.1% stake, is being developed with DONG Energy and a consortium of PGGM and Dutch Ampère Equity Fund. Located in the Irish Sea, approximately 15km west of Barrow-in-Furness, it consists of two wind farms – Walney 1 and Walney 2, each with a capacity of 183.6MW.
Construction of Walney 1 started in March 2010 and is progressing well with all of the planned 51 wind turbines having been successfully installed. The first wind turbines have now been energised and have exported power to the national grid. Walney 1 is expected to be fully commissioned in the first half of 2011.
Construction of Walney 2 is due to start around March and be fully commissioned by the end of 2011. Niels Bergh-Hansen, Executive Vice President of DONG Energy, said: "The United Kingdom has a very ambitious plan for expanding the production of renewable energy and a target of making green energy and reliability of supply go hand in hand, and we are pleased to be able to contribute to the expansion of renewable energy. The first power from Walney is a tangible result of our efforts to increase our production of renewable energy".