Hornsea 3, at 2.9GW the world’s biggest projected wind farm, has won final construction approval from franchisee Ørsted, the developer’s directors confirmed yesterday in Copenhagen.
Work can now begin on the megaproject 160 km off the Yorkshire coast, next to its already operating sisters Hornsea 1 and 2, together rated at 2.5GW. First output is scheduled for late 2027. The Danish firm already operates a total of twelve wind farms in Britain.
In July 2022 the operator won a 15-year contract for difference for Hornsea 3 at a strike price of £37.35 per MWh, inflation-indexed to 2012 prices. The CfD framework permits a reduction of the awarded CfD capacity. Ørsted said it will use this flexibility to submit a share of Hornsea 3’s capacity into the UK’s next AR6 allocation round, expected in February.
Yesterday’s approval will underpin 5,000 jobs during Hornsea 3’s construction, said the firm, plus another 1,200 skilled roles for its operation. The engineers’ confidence in the UK’s offshore wind industry stands to confirm billions more in investment cash.
Ørsted says it has already signed contracts with “hundreds” of suppliers for Hornsea 3. The project is confirmed to be the founding customer for Britain’s first dedicated monopile – turbine tower – factory, opened by Korean manufacturers SeAH on Teesside.
The Danes were able to finalise many prices before fierce inflation this year raised costs for the world’s big contractors. Siemens’ bigger turbines, each with a span of 236 metres, and experience gained on Hornsea 3‘s sisters will make it cheaper to operate, per MW produced.
Hornsea 1 entered service in 2020 and Hornsea 2 last year. Ørsted runs both from a base in Grimsby.
A fourth neighbouring zone, Hornsea 4, promises 2.6GW more, bringing the single mega-cluster up to 7GW. The addition received its development consent order from the UK government this year and is now eligible for forthcoming CfD allocation rounds.
Ørsted CEO Mads Nipper commented: “Offshore wind is an extremely competitive global market, so we also welcome the attractive policy regime in the UK which has helped secure this investment”.
The developer’s UK boss Duncan Clark added: “Hornsea 3 will be a cornerstone in achieving the UK government’s climate and clean energy targets.. Our decision to build it is a vote of confidence in the UK market for offshore wind.
Energy security secretary Claire Coutinho tweeted her delight.