Thanet Wind Farm

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Thanet Offshore Wind Farm
Thanet wind farm.JPG
Thanet Wind Farm is located in England
Thanet Wind Farm
Location of Thanet Offshore Wind Farm in England
Country England, United Kingdom
Location Offshore of Thanet district, Kent
Coordinates 51°25′50″N 1°37′59″E / 51.4306°N 1.6331°E / 51.4306; 1.6331Coordinates: 51°25′50″N 1°37′59″E / 51.4306°N 1.6331°E / 51.4306; 1.6331
Status Operational
Commission date 23 September 2010
Operator(s) Vattenfall
Wind farm
Type Offshore
Max. water depth 14–23 m (46–75 ft)
Distance from shore 12 km (7.5 mi)
Power generation
Units operational 100 × 3 MW
Make and model Vestas Wind Systems: V90-3MW
Nameplate capacity 300 MW
Capacity factor 31.3%[1]
2012 output 821.68 GW·h

The Thanet Wind Farm (also sometimes called Thanet Offshore Wind Farm)[2] is an offshore wind farm 7 miles (11 km) off the coast of Thanet district in Kent, England. It is the world's third largest offshore wind farm, as of June 2013, the largest being the London Array, followed by Walney Wind Farm.[3][4] It has a nameplate capacity (maximum output) of 300 MW and it cost £780[5]–900 million[6] (US$1.2–1.4 billion). Thanet is one of fifteen Round 2 wind projects announced by the Crown Estate in January 2004 but the first to be developed. It was officially opened on 23 September 2010,[3][7] when it overtook Horns Rev 2 as the biggest offshore wind farm in the world. It has since been overtaken by Walney.[4]


The project covers an area of 13.5 square miles (35 km2), with 500 metres (1,600 ft) between turbines and 800 metres (2,600 ft) between the rows. Average water depth is 14–23 metres (46–75 ft).[6] Planning permission for the project was granted on 18 December 2006.[8] According to Thanet Offshore Wind Ltd, it was expected to be "the largest operational offshore wind farm in the World".[9] The Thanet project has a total capacity of 300 MW which, by yearly average, is sufficient to supply approximately 240,000 homes.[2] It has an estimated generation of 960 GW·h per year[10] of electricity, i.e. a projected capacity factor of 36.5% and an average power density of 3.1 W/m².
In 2012, the yearly production achieved was 821.68 GW·h, i.e. a capacity factor of 31.3%.[1]

Two submarine power cables (by Italy-based Prysmian Group) run from an offshore substation within the wind farm connecting to an existing onshore substation in Richborough, Kent, connecting to a world-first two transformers.[11] The offshore substation steps up the turbine voltage of 33 kV to 132 kV for the grid.[12] Maintenance of the turbines is carried out by Vestas, while a separate maintenance agreement with SLP Energy covers the turbines foundations. Turbines are installed by the Danish offshore wind farm services provider A2SEA. The TIV MPI Resolution carried and installed the turbines.[13]

Financial structure[edit]

The Thanet scheme is project financed. Thanet Offshore Wind Ltd (TOW), the project company was owned by hedge fund Christofferson, Robb & Co. It was purchased from a group of sponsors led by Warwick Energy Ltd.[14][15] In August 2008 Christofferson, Robb & Co placed the project back on the market.[16] On 10 November 2008, Vattenfall, a Swedish energy company, acquired TOW.[17]

Current status[edit]

The development was due to be in place by 2008. Vestas were chosen as the preferred turbine supplier in July 2006, and SLP were chosen as preferred supplier for the foundations in September 2006. The project was delayed by a number of issues including problems with Vestas who temporarily withdrew their V90 offshore model from the market in 2007 following gearbox problems. The V90-3MW was re-released for sales starting from May 2008.[18]

Vattenfall acquired the project in November 2008. On 28 June 2010, they reported that all turbines had been installed[19] for commissioning due by the end of 2010.[20] The wind farm was completed in September 2010.[21][22][23]

Satellite image of the Thames Estuary with Thanet Wind Farm bottom right.


Since turbine construction makes up the majority of the project cost and the UK has no capacity, much of the work was contracted to foreign companies, resulting in only 20% of the investment going to British firms.[24] There have been calls for the creation of a domestic wind industry.[25]

An article by climate change sceptic and intelligent design supporter [26] Christopher Booker estimates that due to the wind being intermittent, Thanet Wind Farm will only produce 75MW on average. The owners will receive a subsidy of £60M per year on top of the £30–40M cost of the electricity due to Renewables Obligation Certificates, and based on the estimated working life of the turbines of 20 years, the total subsidy will come to £1.2 billion. Since there are only 21 permanent green jobs, the subsidy per job comes to around £3M per year.[27] However, Booker used a generic capacity of 25%, lower than Vattenfall's estimate for Thanet of 35–40% capacity (105–120 MW).[5] The working life figure is also lower than other estimates of 40 years.[11]


In June 2010, the Crown Estate announced that Thanet wind farm could be extended to produce an additional 147 MW.[28] However, in October 2010, Vattenfall stated that it would not proceed.[29]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Thanet Offshore Wind Farm". Retrieved 2017-03-04. 
  2. ^ a b Thanet Offshore Wind Project, at Warwick Energy website. Access 14 February 2012.
  3. ^ a b MacAlister, Terry (23 September 2010). "British firms miss out as world's biggest offshore windfarm opens off UK coast". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 23 September 2010. 
  4. ^ a b World's biggest offshore wind farm opens off Britain as new minister admits high cost The Telegraph, 9 February 2012. Accessed: 9 February 2012.
  5. ^ a b O'Toole, Sarah. World’s biggest offshore wind farm opens today Global Energy Magazine, 23 September 2010. Retrieved: 29 September 2010.
  6. ^ a b "Thanet Offshore Wind Farm". 4C Offshore. Retrieved 24 February 2013. 
  7. ^ Shankleman, Jessica. UK cuts ribbon on world's largest offshore wind farm BusinessGreen, 23 September 2010. Retrieved: 23 September 2010.
  8. ^ Offshore wind farms get go-ahead, BBC News, 2006-12-18
  9. ^
  10. ^ Thanet Offshore Wind Project, at Vattenfall website
  11. ^ a b Thanet Offshore Wind Farm, Kent, United Kingdom Power Technology. Retrieved: 29 September 2010.
  12. ^ Substation in place Vestas. Retrieved: 4 September 2010.
  13. ^ 100 turbines in 100 days Vestas. Retrieved: 4 September 2010.
  14. ^
  15. ^
  16. ^ Fortson, Danny (17 August 2008). "Christofferson Robb hedge fund to sell Thanet windfarm in Kent". The Times. London. 
  17. ^ "UPDATE 1-Vattenfall to build UK's biggest wind farm". Reuters. 10 November 2008. 
  18. ^ V90-3.0 MW offshore wind turbine back on the market again, Vestas Press Release 18th Feb 2008
  19. ^ Final turbine erected New Energy Focus, 28 June 2010. Retrieved: 18 August 2010.
  20. ^ Wallace, J.; Jackson, M.; Rogers, S. (2009). "The problem with O&M". Renewable Energy Focus. 9 (7): 22. doi:10.1016/S1755-0084(09)70032-8. 
  21. ^ Wolstenholme, Matthew (2010-09-13). "Vattenfall announces completion of Thanet offshore wind farm". ReCharge. NHST Media Group. Retrieved 2010-09-15. 
  22. ^ World's Largest Wind Farm Opens Off UK Coast CBS News, 2010-09-23
  23. ^ World's largest wind farm opens off UK coast, 2010-09-23
  24. ^ MacAlister, Terry (23 September 2010). "British firms miss out as world's biggest offshore windfarm opens off UK coast". The Guardian. London. 
  25. ^ "UK 'needs domestic wind energy industry'". BBC News. 27 September 2010. 
  26. ^ O'Toole, Sarah. World’s biggest wind farm ‘will cost £1.2bn in subsidies’ Global Energy Magazine, 26 September 2010. Retrieved: 29 September 2010.
  27. ^ Booker, Christopher (25 September 2010). "The Thanet wind farm will milk us of billions". The Daily Telegraph. London. 
  28. ^
  29. ^

External links[edit]