World's largest off-shore wind farm opens in UK

The world's largest off-shore wind turbine farm with a generating capacity of 300 megawatt (MW) opened yesterday off the southeast coast of England. The Thanet off-shore wind farm was built by Swedish state-owned energy firm Vattenfall, makings its foray into the British green energy market.

The giant €1 billion ($1.34 billion) farm off the Kent coast has 100 turbines, and will generate electricity equivalent to the annual consumption of over 200,000 households.

At the opening ceremony, British energy secretary Chris Huhne said, ''I'm pleased that we've reached the point where 5 gigawatt (GW) of our energy comes from onshore and offshore wind – that's enough electricity to power all the homes in Scotland.''

"We are in a unique position to become a world leader in this industry. We are an island nation and I firmly believe we should be harnessing our wind, wave and tidal resources to the maximum," Huhne further said.

Stockholm-based Vattenfall is Europe's fifth-largest generator of electricity and the largest generator of heat. Between 2009 and 2011, the company plans to double its wind power electricity generation, constructing nine wind farms in six countries to supply electricity equivalent to the demand of 800,000 households annually.

''With Thanet off-shore wind farm, Vattenfall has taken a major step towards doubling its generation from wind power until 2011 and we continue to lead the way in offshore wind development,'' Oystein Loseth, CEO and president of Vattenfall said in a separate statement.