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7 upcoming UK-based wind projects you need to know about



Renewable energy currently provides nearly a third of power to the UK, and half of this comes from wind.

Upcoming offshore wind projects are creating thousands of jobs for technical workers in the next few years
(Image via Shutterstock)

The UK has more installed capacity of offshore wind than any other country in the world. Offshore wind currently provides enough power for 4.5 million homes annually, and is anticipated to keep growing over the coming years. The cost of new offshore wind developments has fallen by 50% since 2015, making it one of the cheapest options for new power in the UK - beating both gas and nuclear power. Between 2016 and 2021, nearly £19 billion is being invested in offshore wind, creating thousands of jobs across the country in areas such as manufacturing, project development, construction, operations and maintenance.

There are currently 35 offshore wind farms in operation around the UK, with 2,016 individual turbines, but there are many more developments being planned. Here are some of the biggest upcoming offshore wind projects that are creating jobs and bringing new energy opportunities to the country in the next few years.

Hornsea is set to be the world's biggest offshore wind farm
(Image via Ørsted)

Hornsea Offshore Wind Farm
Value: $31.7 billion
Startup: Multi-stage - 2019-2028

Hornsea is a major new offshore wind farm being developed by Ørsted off the UK’s East coast, located roughly halfway between the Dogger Bank Wind Farm and East Anglia Wind Farm. The project is split into 4 subzones, which together will generate a total capacity of 6GW.

It’s planned to be the biggest offshore wind farm in the world.

Phase 1 began construction in January 2018, with the first turbines supplying power to the UK grid in February 2019. Completion is expected during the first quarter of 2020. This phase will feature 174 7MW turbines, with the nearest to shore located 103km from the East Riding of Yorkshire coast. Three offshore collector substations and reactive compensation substation are connected, processing the power to a total of 1.2GW.

The construction base for Phase 2 was officially inaugurated at Humberside Airport in Lincolnshire in September 2019. The base will host 30 employees to support the construction of 165 turbines with a total installed capacity of 1.386GW. Turbine installation is expected to commence in 2021, with operations beginning in 2022.

Phase 3 will cover an area of 696 square km, located to the east of the other two phases. Ørsted are thought to be considering the use of decommissioned oil and gas platforms as support, with the nearby Schooner and Ketch gas production platforms being most likely options. Between 160 and 300 turbines, each with a capacity of 13MW to 15MW, are expected to be used for the development, which aims to have a total capacity of 2.4GW. Startup is planned for 2027.

Phase 4 is the highest value stage, with a projected value of US$12 billion. The proposed site area will span over 600 square km with enough turbines to produce 3.6GW. Though still in the planning process, it’s hoped that Phase 4 could be operational as early as 2028.

Dolphyn is still in the early stages but has an ambitious idea to generate hydrogen to heat UK homes
(Image via ERM)

Dolphyn Floating Offshore Wind-to-Hydrogen Project
Value: $15 billion
Start up: 2030

A 4GW floating windfarm set to convert seawater into “green” hydrogen in order to heat millions of UK homes is the ambitious plan of the Dolphyn project.

The development uses floating semi-submersible wind turbines with integrated PEM electrolysis and desalination facilities. The electrolysers will split seawater into hydrogen and oxygen, with the hydrogen being pumped ashore through a pipeline. 

The project is being developed by consultancy ERM alongside the Tractebel unit of French energy company Engie and offshore specialist ODE. In September 2019 they were granted £427,000 in funding from the UK Government for the initial stage, which will take the form of a 2MW prototype, aimed to begin operations off the coast of Scotland by Summer 2023 - if they can secure support from a major energy player.

A 10MW full scale pre-commercial facility is then planned for 2026. If it goes ahead, this should produce up to 800 tonnes of hydrogen per year - enough to heat around 2,500 homes, fuel up to 240 buses or run 8 to 12 trains.

Ultimately the developers hope that a completed project of 400 turbines could be rolled out in the 2030s, generating a capacity of 4GW and producing over 320,000 tonnes of hydrogen per year - enough to heat 1.5 million UK homes.

Creyke Beck is the initial phase of the large Dogger Bank wind farms
(Image via Dogger Bank)

Dogger Bank Creyke Beck
Value: $11.52 billion
Start up: 2025

The Dogger Bank sandbank in a shallow area of the North Sea, around 100km off the UK’s East coast is the proposed site for four offshore wind farms, each with a capacity of 1.2GW. The four farms are grouped in to two phases, with Creyke Beck A and B being the first phase. Permission to develop the Creyke Beck phases was given by the UK government in February 2015.

200 turbines will be constructed at Creyke Beck A, in water depths of 18 to 30m, covering an area of 515km2. These will generate a total capacity of 1.2GW.

Creyke Beck B will cover a larger area of 599km2 and will also generate a total capacity of 1.2GW from 200 turbines.

The two farms will feature around 950km of inter-array cabling leading to four offshore substations. They will also share 32km of onshore cabling and two new converter stations near the grid connection at the existing Creyke Beck substation.

Teesside B was renamed Sofia wind farm by innogy when they took over operations
(Image via innogy)

Dogger Bank Teeside
Value: $11.52 billion
Start up: 2025

The second phase of Dogger Bank is Teeside A & B. Initially these were all operated by Equinor, however in 2017 they were split so that Equinor and SSE would own Dogger Bank Teesside A while Innogy would take Dogger Bank Teesside B - which was later renamed Sofia Offshore Wind Farm.

Teesside A lies 196km from the shore and covers an area of 560km2. 200 turbines will be installed on the area - for which planning consent was granted in August 2015. It will have a total capacity of 1.2GW.

Teesside B/Sofia Offshore Wind Farm will be located 165km from the shore at its closet point and will cover an area of 593km2. It will be located in water depths of less than 35m below the lowest astronomical tide. It will have a total capacity of 1.4GW.

Construction of both phases is due to begin before August 2022, with start up expected in 2025.

Triton Knoll Offshore Wind Farm will generate enough energy to power over 800,000 UK households
(Image via Triton Knoll)

Triton Knoll Offshore Wind Farm
Value: $6 billion
Start up: 2022

The Triton Knoll wind farm was approved for the Greater Wash strategic area in January 2004 following the second round of license applications in the UK North Sea. It’s operated by RWE innogy, who hold 59% of the ownership of the project, with J-Power taking 24% and Kansia Electric Power holding 16%.

90 MHI Vesta 164 turbines are planned for installation, each of which have an installed capacity of 9.5MW. In total the field will have a capacity of 857MW.

The operators claim that the average annual generation expected at the site could power over 800,000 UK households.

The East Anglia Three Offshore Wind Farm will power over 1 million UK homes
(Image via ScottishPower)

East Anglia Three Offshore Wind Farm
Value: $5.76 billion
Start up: 2025

Owned by ScottishPower Renewables, the East Anglia Three Offshore Wind Farm is the second project the company is developing in the area. Initial consent for construction was granted on 7th August 2017 for a wind farm in the Norfolk Bank Round 3 zone with a total capacity of 1.2GW. However in June 2019 BEIS approved a non-material change to increase the farms overall capacity to 1.4GW.

The project will cover an area of approximately 305km2, in water depths between 35m and 49m. It’s expected to feature up to 172 wind turbines, each with a rated capacity of between 7MW and 12MW, with an installed capacity of 1.4GW.

According to ScottishPower, the resulting energy could power over 1 million UK homes. It’s hoped that the project could start up in 2025.

72 turbines are due to be installed at Inch Cape starting next year
(Image via Inch Cape Offshore Ltd)

Inch Cape Offshore Wind Farm
Value $5.04 billion
Start up: 2023

Inch Cape Offshore Limited - a division of Red Rock Power - plan to develop an offshore wind farm in the outer Tay Estuary, around 15km off the Angus coastline. The site covers an area of around 150km2, where up to 72 turbines will be installed in water depths between 35m and 55m deep. The project will connect to the grid at the former Cockenzie Coal Power station in East Lothian. Through a network of low voltage electricity cables.

Following a series of developments that go back to 2009, consent was granted for the latest plans in June 2019. It’s expected to enter construction in 2020.

Offshore wind jobs are expected to triple by 2030
(Image via Shutterstock)

The rise of Green Jobs

Investment in offshore wind is expected to triple the number of highly skilled jobs in the sector by 2030 - to reach a total of 27,000.

In March this year, the UK government announced a series of measures to promote and enhance these “green collar” jobs. Measures include creating more opportunities for apprenticeships in these sectors and conducting further work within education institutions to develop a sector-wide curriculum that  will deliver a skilled and diverse workforce across the country.

They’ve also announced plans to create an offshore energy passport, recognised outside the UK, that will allow wind workers to transfer their skills and expertise to other offshore industries, allowing them to work seamlessly across different offshore sectors.

The government is also committed to increasing diversity targets, aiming to increase the percentage of women working in the offshore wind industry from 16% to 40%.

The increase in the number of projects combined with the government’s incentives for green collar jobs are further boosted by the number of people who want to work within this sector. Research by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) recently found that more than two thirds of millennials say they would prefer to work in environmentally friendly jobs. The growing movement towards a greener economy puts more value on these opportunities.

“The move to a cleaner, greener economy is outlined in our modern Industrial Strategy as one of the greatest economic opportunities of our time. Working with the offshore wind industry, I want to ensure that women and young people benefit from this sea-change,” said Energy and Clean Growth Minister Claire Perry. 

“This deal could support a tripling of jobs over the next few decades and it is exciting to see that the industry is encouraging my children’s generation – the UK’s workforce of the future – to propel themselves into the industry, giving them the skills they need to thrive in the sector.”

Work on upcoming offshore wind projects

As a leading provider of recruitment and workforce solutions to the renewable energy industry, Fircroft can help you secure your next job on a major wind project.

We’ve been recruiting engineering and technical professionals since 1970. Register your CV with us today to keep up with the latest job opportunities for experienced professionals.

Recent Comments
I would like to be a part of team work
Hicham Lahrach, 18 September 2019
This is amazing, tapping wind green energy to serve millions of people away from conventional sources. I come from around lake Victoria. This technology will greatly be of service to the people. Doing good men. sky is the limit.
JOHNSTON OSIMBO OBUYU, 19 September 2019
Fossil fuel will be foremost for a long time to come yet!!!
Ian Joel, 25 September 2019
The average capital cost of these projects is >$4000/kW of installed capacity. With a bit of luck, they might end up with a capacity factor averaging 45%, a lifespan of 25 years and be generating intermittent electricity through the 2030s/2040s. What might happen to investment in offshore wind when the first of GE-Hitachi's BWRX-300 Small Modular Reactors [SMRs] begins operation in 2028? It wins hands-down on every metric: a target capital cost of $2000/kW for its 300 MW installed capacity, a capacity factor of 90%, a design life of 60 years - generating 24/7 electricity - and a 2 year build programme. Renewable investors ignore burgeoning developments in advanced nuclear power plants at their peril:
Colin Megson, 27 September 2019
Great opportunity! I will be Glad to be Part of your team. God bless.!
Wilfredo P. Heredia , 07 October 2019
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7 upcoming UK-based wind projects you need to know about - Time to read 10 min
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