Offshore wind turbine number 1,000 was commissioned at the German offshore wind farm Gode Wind 2, which is one of the many that DONG Energy fully or partly owns and operates in the UK, Denmark and Germany.
A number of major milestones in offshore wind have come in the UK – in 2007, the Burbo Bank offshore wind farm in Liverpool Bay was the first to use the world's biggest offshore wind turbines at the time at 3.6 megawatts (MW).
The next breakthrough came in 2015, when DONG Energy built Westermost Rough offshore wind farm off the Holderness coast with 6MW wind turbines. And in September this year, DONG Energy installed the first 8MW offshore turbines at Burbo Bank Extension.
Anders Lindberg, Senior Vice President responsible for the construction of offshore wind farms at DONG Energy, said:
"In the space of only a few years, offshore wind has evolved from being a niche technology to being recognised as a reliable and clean energy source supplying power on utility scale and playing an important role in the green transformation of the energy sector. With 1,000 offshore wind turbines, we have a unique level of experience of constructing and operating 'power plants' at sea, and this is crucial to ensuring that we can continue to reduce the costs of green electricity from offshore wind."
From 2016 to 2020, DONG Energy is set to build more offshore wind capacity than it built in the preceding 25 years. And today's wind turbines deliver almost twice as much energy as the first offshore wind farm.
Developments have moved forward at a rapid pace since the first Danish offshore wind turbine with a capacity of 0.45MW started producing power 25 years ago at the Vindeby offshore wind farm. Now, the largest wind turbines in the market – with a rotor span of 164 metres and a capacity of 8MW – can produce almost twice as much energy as all 11 of the small wind turbines that make up Vindeby. Just one rotation of the largest wind turbines produces electricity to cover one household's power consumption over 29 hours.
At the end of 2015, DONG Energy had installed offshore wind farms with a total capacity of 3 gigawatts (GW). And there is more in the pipeline: towards 2020, DONG Energy is building a number of large offshore wind farms in the UK and Germany that will increase capacity to 6.7GW, equalling the electricity consumption of 17 million Europeans.
Offshore wind power facts:
On average, an offshore wind turbine produces 50% more electricity than a corresponding onshore wind turbine due to the superior wind conditions at sea
The first offshore wind turbines in the world were installed by DONG Energy at the Vindeby offshore wind farm in 1991. Each of the 11 wind turbines has a capacity of 0.45MW
The biggest wind turbines that DONG Energy uses today have a capacity of 8MW and stand at 195 metres – taller than the Gherkin building in London (180 metres)
At the moment, the world's largest offshore wind farm is London Array, which was built in 2013. London Array comprises of 175 3.6MW wind turbines, totalling a capacity of 630MW
London Array will be surpassed as the world's largest offshore wind farm in 2018, once DONG Energy completes the construction of the 659MW Walney Extension project – and again in 2020 with Hornsea Project One, which will have a capacity of 1.2GW
DONG Energy has constructed more than a quarter of the world's existing offshore wind capacity