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Giant wind turbines go online near Liverpool

Some 32 massive wind turbines have recently been completed in an extension to the Burbo Bank windfarm in the Liverpool Bay, reinforcing the United Kingdom’s role as leading player in wind power.

The turbines, which were installed by the Danish company Dong Energy, stand 195 metres tall, making them higher than many familiar landmarks, such as the Royal Liver Building, the London Eye, and even the Gherkin skyscraper. Each turbine is capable of generating eight megawatts of electricity, which is a world first and a significant milestone for the industry.

Scaling up the technology like this is expected to lead to lower costs, which the government has signalled it expects for continued taxpayer support. This is because fewer turbines mean fewer foundations need to be built and fewer cables are required. Ongoing maintenance, such as ensuring adequate lubrication with greases like Mobilith SHC 220, should also be less costly with fewer but larger wind turbines.

Benjamin Sykes of Dong Energy UK described the new extension as “part of the journey to a zero-subsidy windfarm.”

Dong Energy recently caused a stir when it gained approval to build the world’s first unsubsidised offshore wind farm in Germany. While the UK is not quite there yet, Sykes speculated that in the next government auction for renewable energy subsidies, the cost of offshore wind power may come in below the £92.50 per MWh rate the government has promised EDF for the Hinkley nuclear power plant.

Sykes also said he anticipated even larger turbines arriving before the technology hits its theoretical limit.

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