Upon the sea

The Thanet Wind Farm (also sometimes called Thanet Offshore Wind Farm) is an offshore wind farm 7 miles (11 km) off the coast of Thanet district in KentEngland. On commissioning it was the world’s largest offshore wind farm. It has a nameplate capacity (maximum output) of 300 MW and it cost £780–900 million (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, 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). Planning permission for the project was granted on 18 December 2006. According to Thanet Offshore Wind Ltd, it was expected to be “the largest operational offshore wind farm in the World”. The Thanet project has a total capacity of 300 MW which, by yearly average, is sufficient to supply approximately 240,000 homes.

It has an estimated generation of 960 GW·h per year 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%.

Dawn Ramsgate main beach

Off to work

In the early morning workers are transported to the wind farms off the Isle of Thanet coast. Built several years ago they were at the time the largest offshore wind farms in the world.

© 2020 All images and video are copyright of David Townsend