A colossal achievement: Rampion offshore wind farm now fully operational

English Channel operation adds 116 turbines, 400MW to Europe’s booming offshore capacity

An array of turbines covering 70 square kilometers, larger than the island of Guernsey.

Turbine foundations, affixed to the sea bed, that collectively weigh 92,800 tonnes—the equivalent of nine Eiffel Towers.

About 140 kilometres of array cables, enough to stretch from Brighton to London and back.

Turbine towers standing 260 feet high and weighing 200 tonnes apiece, as much as 26 African bull elephants.

And an offshore substation weighing 2,000 tonnes, about a fifth as heavy as the Brooklyn Bridge.

Any way you look at it, the 400-megawatt (MW) Rampion Offshore Wind Farm is a colossal achievement—and it’s now in full operation in the English Channel, with its 116 towering turbines supplying an anticipated 1,400 gigawatt hours (GWh) of green power per year to Great Britain’s National Grid.

“The opening of Rampion today represents a true milestone,” said Cynthia Hansen, Enbridge’s Executive Vice President, Utilities and Power Operations, during today’s grand opening ceremonies in Brighton. “This project is our first offshore wind farm and a significant achievement for our company and our partners.”

Rampion has been co-developed by European electric utility E.ON, the UK Green Investment Bank plc, and Enbridge, which owns a 24.9-percent interest.

“It’s exciting to be producing electricity that is exported to the National Grid,” says Rampion’s turbine commissioning manager Adam Simmonds, whose team has been activating the wind farm’s turbines, one by one, for the past several months.

“Once a turbine is running, we carry out a 240-hour reliability test to monitor its performance and identify any final snagging items,” adds Simmonds, “before it’s handed to the operations and maintenance team to begin its working life—turning wind into clean, green electricity.”

Rampion will supply power to about 350,000 UK homes—almost half the houses in Sussex, along England’s south coast—and is expected to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by nearly 600,000 tonnes a year.

Rampion also represents Enbridge’s first foray into offshore energy wind production, and it won’t be our last.

As part of our energy sustainability goals, and our commitment to a lower-carbon energy future, Enbridge also has 25.5-percent net ownership in the Hohe See and Albatros wind farm projects in the North Sea, off the coast of Germany. The two projects have a collective capacity of 610 MW, and are expected to enter service in 2019.

In mid-2016, Enbridge also acquired a 50-percent interest in Éolien Maritime France (EMF) SAS, a French offshore wind development company.

“Rampion is a key part of our commitment to Enbridge’s future in renewables, and our plans to continue to invest in European offshore wind projects,” says Ms. Hansen.

Nearly half of Europe’s power generation capacity is expected to come from renewables by 2025, with offshore wind supplying a mighty push. According to WindEurope:

Europe’s total offshore wind capacity jumped by 25 percent in 2017, with more than 3.1 GW coming online and pushing total capacity to nearly 15.8 GW.