Thanet Wind Farm

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Thanet Offshore Wind Farm
Thanet wind farm.JPG
CountryEngland, United Kingdom
LocationOffshore of Thanet district, Kent
Coordinates51°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
Commission date23 September 2010
Wind farm
Max. water depth14–23 m (46–75 ft)
Distance from shore12 km (7.5 mi)
Power generation
Units operational100 × 3 MW
Make and modelVestas Wind Systems: V90-3MW
Nameplate capacity300 MW
Capacity factor31.3%[1]
Annual net output821.68 GW·h (2012)
External links
CommonsRelated media on Commons

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. On commissioning it was the world's largest offshore wind farm. It has a nameplate capacity (maximum output) of 300 MW and it cost £780[3]–900 million[4] (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,[5][6] when it overtook Horns Rev 2 as the biggest offshore wind farm in the world. It has since been overtaken by many others (medio 2017 it ranks 14th).


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).[4] Planning permission for the project was granted on 18 December 2006.[7] According to Thanet Offshore Wind Ltd, it was expected to be "the largest operational offshore wind farm in the World".[8] 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[9] 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.[10] The offshore substation steps up the turbine voltage of 33 kV to 132 kV for the grid.[11] 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.[12]

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.[13][14] In August 2008 Christofferson, Robb & Co placed the project back on the market.[15] On 10 November 2008, Vattenfall, a Swedish energy company, acquired TOW.[16]


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 the 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.[17]

Vattenfall acquired the project in November 2008. On 28 June 2010, they reported that all turbines had been installed[18] for commissioning due by the end of 2010.[19] The wind farm was completed in September 2010.[20][21][22]

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.[23] There have been calls for the creation of a domestic wind industry.[24]

An article by climate change denier[25] and intelligent design supporter[26] Christopher Booker criticised the subsidy given to develop the project and drew attention to the capacity factor of wind farms.[27] As of December 2017, Thanet's lifetime capacity factor has been 32.6%.[28] Its levelised cost has been estimated at £159/MWh.[29]


In June 2010, the Crown Estate announced that Thanet wind farm could be extended to produce an additional 147 MW.[30] However, in October 2010, Vattenfall stated that it would not proceed.[31] As of 2017 Vattenfall is working at the option for an extension[32]

On 2 June 2020, the DCO for a new cluster of wind turbines off the coast of Thanet was rejected. Business secretary Alok Sharma said the proposal by Vattenfall would not be allowed to proceed. The proposals would have seen 34 turbines sited 8 km from the shore, which would reportedly generate more power than the existing 100 turbines, which sit 12 km off Foreness Point. Vattenfall stated in their initial application that the Thanet Extension would allow an expansion to the existing workforce of 75 people. Danielle Lane, UK country manager for the Scandinavian organisation, said: "Naturally we’re very disappointed by this decision and will consider how we proceed from here. "We continue to believe that Thanet extension would be an important development for the local area, for UK energy security, and for the drive to reduce emissions." The extension would have had a capacity of up to 340MW and would be capable of supplying renewable electricity annually to the equivalent of about 282,000 UK homes [33]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Thanet Offshore Wind Farm". Retrieved 4 March 2017.
  2. ^ a b "Thanet Offshore Wind Project, at Warwick Energy website. Access 14 February 2012". Archived from the original on 6 March 2012.
  3. ^ O'Toole, Sarah. World’s biggest offshore wind farm opens today Archived 28 July 2013 at the Wayback Machine Global Energy Magazine, 23 September 2010. Retrieved: 29 September 2010.
  4. ^ a b "Thanet Offshore Wind Farm". 4C Offshore. Retrieved 24 February 2013.
  5. ^ 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.
  6. ^ Shankleman, Jessica. UK cuts ribbon on world's largest offshore wind farm BusinessGreen, 23 September 2010. Retrieved: 23 September 2010.
  7. ^ "Offshore wind farms get go-ahead". 18 December 2006 – via
  8. ^[permanent dead link]
  9. ^ Thanet Offshore Wind Project, at Vattenfall website
  10. ^ Thanet Offshore Wind Farm, Kent, United Kingdom Power Technology. Retrieved: 29 September 2010.
  11. ^ Substation in place Archived 3 October 2010 at the Wayback Machine Vestas. Retrieved: 4 September 2010.
  12. ^ 100 turbines in 100 days Archived 30 October 2013 at the Wayback Machine Vestas. Retrieved: 4 September 2010.
  13. ^ "OilVoice".
  14. ^ "Share capital of Thanet Offshore Wind sold for £32m - News - IJGlobal".
  15. ^ Fortson, Danny (17 August 2008). "Christofferson Robb hedge fund to sell Thanet windfarm in Kent". The Times. London.
  16. ^ "UPDATE 1-Vattenfall to build UK's biggest wind farm". Reuters. 10 November 2008.
  17. ^ V90-3.0 MW offshore wind turbine back on the market again, Vestas Press Release 18th Feb 2008 Archived 7 July 2009 at the Portuguese Web Archive
  18. ^ Final turbine erected[permanent dead link] New Energy Focus, 28 June 2010. Retrieved: 18 August 2010.
  19. ^ 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.
  20. ^ Wolstenholme, Matthew (13 September 2010). "Vattenfall announces completion of Thanet offshore wind farm". ReCharge. NHST Media Group. Archived from the original on 16 September 2010. Retrieved 15 September 2010.
  21. ^ World's Largest Wind Farm Opens Off UK Coast CBS News, 23 September 2010
  22. ^ World's largest wind farm opens off UK coast, 23 September 2010
  23. ^ MacAlister, Terry (23 September 2010). "British firms miss out as world's biggest offshore windfarm opens off UK coast". The Guardian. London.
  24. ^ "UK 'needs domestic wind energy industry'". BBC News. 27 September 2010.
  25. ^ Philip Ball (15 November 2009). "The Real Global Warming Disaster by Christopher Booker". The Observer. London. Retrieved 9 January 2014.
  26. ^ "Christopher Booker's notebook". The Daily Telegraph. London. 7 August 2005. Retrieved 30 April 2010.
  27. ^ Booker, Christopher (25 September 2010). "The Thanet wind farm will milk us of billions". The Daily Telegraph. London.
  28. ^ "UK offshore wind capacity factors".
  29. ^ Aldersey-Williams, John; Broadbent, Ian; Strachan, Peter (2019). "Better estimates of LCOE from audited accounts – A new methodology with examples from United Kingdom offshore wind and CCGT". Energy Policy. 128: 25–35. doi:10.1016/j.enpol.2018.12.044. hdl:10059/3298. S2CID 158158724.
  30. ^ "Maritime Journal - Extensions for UK wind farms announced". Archived from the original on 3 September 2012.
  31. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 17 October 2010. Retrieved 14 October 2010.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  32. ^ "Thanet Extension - Vattenfall".
  33. ^ "Thanet Extension DCO Application Rejected". 3 June 2020.

External links[edit]