Wind farms

The Port of Ramsgate is home to the operation and maintenance bases for the Thanet Offshore Windfarm by Vattenfall and the London Array Offshore Wind Farm. The Port also hosts a number of the construction companies for the windfarms including Siemens.

The Port’s position in south east England means it is well placed to support the needs of the industry. These requirements focus on the need for port related services, new manufacturing and assembly, ancillary goods and components. This also includes services that support construction, ongoing operation and maintenance.

 The UK is the global leader for offshore wind energy and its investment can be clearly seen in Ramsgate. Just look out to sea on a clear day and the giant turbine structures are clearly visible from the Thanet coastline. Closer to the shore, Ramsgate Harbour is buzzing with specialist support and crew boats constructing and servicing the windfarms. In the port itself, new buildings now house the operation and maintenance centres, as well as contractors’ operations.

The government’s aim is firmly committed to the continuing expansion of offshore wind with an expectation that up to 18 GW can be deployed by 2020 and over 40 GW by 2030. The Crown Estate plays a key role in the development of the offshore wind energy industry in the UK as they manage the seabed out to the 12 nautical miles limit.

This map identifies the round one and round two wind farm sites as licenced by the Crown Estate.

 Windfarmmapthmb

Click image to enlarge

A key area for offshore windfarm development is the eastern seaboard of England which enjoys shallow waters and strong wind resources that extend far into the North Sea. Within this area, the Thames Estuary is one of the three locations that are leading the way for offshore sites. The keys sites supported off the Thanet coast are: The development of the offshore wind farm industry represents a massive long term investment to sustain a home based supply chain and reduce our overseas dependency. This will also create thousands of new jobs and business opportunities for the UK.

Thanet Offshore 100 turbines Operational since September 2010
London Array (Phase 1) 175 turbines Construction completion at the end 2012 with Phase 2 to be announced.

Thanet Offshore Wind Farm project

Vattenfall acquired the Thanet Offshore Wind Farm project in November 2008. Vattenfall is one of the biggest wind power operators in Britain and is the fifth largest energy producer in Europe. The Kentish Flats wind farm off Herne Bay / Whitstable, Kent is also owned by Vattenfall. www.vattenfall.co.uk

  • The Thanet Offshore covers an area 35m2 of sea
  • In an average year, it will produce enough clean electricity to supply more than 200,000 homes
  • Each turbine is 115m tall at its highest point, with a minimum clearance above sea level of 22m
  • The Thanet Offshore is located approximately 12 km off Foreness Point
  • The distance between each turbine is approximately 500m along rows and 800m between rows
  • The total investment for completing the windfarm is approximately £780 million
  • The windfarm will have an operational life of 40 years, after which it will be decommissioned
  • The development of the Thanet project will help the UK move toward its goals by reducing emissions of carbon dioxide by approximately 36 million tonnes over its 40 year lifetime
  • There are 100 Vestas V90 wind turbines that have a total capacity of 300MW.

London Array

London Array Limited (www.londonarray.com) is a consortium of three world-leading renewable energy companies who are combining their experience and expertise to develop and build the world’s largest offshore wind farm.

The London Array project is divided into two phases and Phase One involves installing:

  • 175 turbines
  • Two offshore substations and a new onshore substation
  • Four export cables connecting the offshore substations to the onshore substation
  • Over 200km of array cables to connect the turbines to each other and to the offshore substations
  • It will generate up to 630MW, which is enough electricity for over 470,000 UK homes equating to two thirds of all the homes in Kent
  • Each turbine has a capacity of 3.6 MW
  • 2.2 billion Euros investment by project partners
  • Up to 90 permanent jobs to be created throughout the operational life of the wind farm
  • The wind turbine contractor is Siemens Wind Power, who will be working in partnership with DONG Energy, London Array’s O&M Service Provider, providing maintenance services for the wind turbines during the first five years of operation.

Trips to see the windfarm

A number of companies provide boat trips out to the windfarms for people interested in seeing them. These include: The Sea Searcher from Ramsgate Harbour operates a three-hour trip along the east Thanet coast to North Foreland and out to the Thanet Offshore Wind Farm.

  • See the spectacular coast and bays, and an operating windfarm. For more information on trip dates visit www.seasearcher.co.uk or call 07837 562076

  • Horizon Sea Safaris from Ramsgate Harbour operates a trip to see London Array, the largest windfarm in the world which is just 12 miles from North Foreland. For more information, visit www.horizonseasafaris.com or call 07931 744788

Bringing skills and training to Ramsgate

During its life, an offshore wind farm project requires the expertise and knowledge of a large number of people with a wide range of skills. The project in Ramsgate is bringing together a diverse team including

  • civil, mechanical and electrical engineers,
  • fabricators,
  • marine trades,
  • environmental specialists as well as
  • technical and administrative skills.

Bringing such a wide range of trades and sevices to the area is great news for the Port and Ramsgate. It brings opportunities for jobs, skills and training helping the local economy.