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World’s largest offshore wind farm produces power for the first time

October 10, 2023
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The world’s largest offshore wind farm under construction, Dogger Bank, has started producing electricity for the first time for British homes and businesses, marking a major milestone in the development of the offshore wind industry and the transition to a cleaner, more secure energy system. Vårgrønn will bring our experience from Dogger Bank into our other projects and future project pipeline.

UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has hailed this landmark moment, saying Dogger Bank will bolster energy security, create jobs, lower electricity bills and keep us on track for Net Zero.

The 3.6GW Dogger Bank Wind Farm is being constructed in UK waters 70 nautical miles (130km) off the coast of Yorkshire and in three 1.2GW phases known as Dogger Bank A, B and C. Power from the project’s first offshore wind turbine at Dogger Bank A is now being transmitted to the UK’s national grid via Dogger Bank’s high-voltage direct current (HVDC) transmission system, marking the first-time use of HVDC technology on a UK wind farm.

First power followed the installation of the first of GE Vernova’s ground-breaking Haliade-X 13MW turbines, one of the largest and most powerful globally, at the Dogger Bank site. This is the first time Haliade-X units have been energised offshore anywhere in the world.

Each rotation of the 107m long blades on Dogger Bank’s first operational turbine can produce enough clean energy to power an average British home for two days.

When fully complete, Dogger Bank’s world-record-beating 3.6GW capacity will comprise 277 giant offshore turbines capable of producing enough clean energy to power the equivalent of six million homes annually.

UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said:

“Offshore wind is critical to generating renewable, efficient energy that can power British homes from British seas. I’m proud that this country is already a world leader in reaching Net Zero by 2050, and by doubling down on the new green industries of the future, we’ll get there in a way that’s both pragmatic and ambitious. That’s why it’s fantastic to see the world's largest wind farm, Dogger Bank, generating power for the first time today from UK waters, which will not only bolster our energy security, but create jobs, lower electricity bills and keep us on track for Net Zero."

Dogger Bank is being developed and built by the UK’s SSE Renewables in a joint venture with Norway’s Equinor and Vårgrønn (a joint venture of Eni Plenitude and HitecVision). SSE Renewables is lead operator for the development and construction of Dogger Bank Wind Farm. Equinor will be lead operator of the wind farm on completion for its expected operational life of around 35 years. Vårgrønn brings specialist offshore wind expertise to the project.

Alistair Phillips-Davies, Chief Executive of SSE, said:

"There’s been lots of talk about the need to build homegrown energy supplies, but we are taking action on a massive scale. Dogger Bank will provide a significant boost to UK energy security, affordability and leadership in tackling climate change. This is exactly how we should be responding to the energy crisis. But it is also a landmark moment for the global offshore wind industry, with Dogger Bank demonstrating just what can be achieved when policymakers, investors, industry, and communities work together to achieve something truly remarkable. The innovations this pioneering project has developed will also mean future developments can be built faster and more efficiently, accelerating the clean energy transition. Now, of course, the challenge is to accelerate the next wave of these projects and we look forward to working with governments to bring these forward as soon as possible."

Anders Opedal, CEO of Equinor, said:

"Set against the broader energy context, Dogger Bank, the world’s largest offshore wind farm demonstrates the best of what the offshore wind industry can offer, with innovative technologies, long-term jobs and economic growth and security of electricity supply at a major scale. A renewable mega-project like Dogger Bank constitutes an industrial wind hub in the heart of the North Sea, playing a major role in the UK’s ambitions for offshore wind and supporting its net zero ambitions. First power from Dogger Bank, is a testament to the collaboration between the authorities, the project partners, suppliers and our host communities to realise this project."

Olav Hetland, CEO of Vårgrønn, said:

"Dogger Bank’s first power milestone demonstrates that offshore wind is ready to power Europe’s energy transition. While today we celebrate Dogger Bank providing its first power, the offshore wind farm is delivering much more than renewable energy. The project has contributed to building industry and creating local jobs and will continue to do so over several decades. Maximising these positive local ripple effects of offshore wind projects is essential to maintaining strong support for offshore wind and the energy transition. Looking ahead, we expect the Northeast of England to hold a central place in Europe’s offshore wind future."

At 260 metres tall, the gigantic turbines at Dogger Bank are almost twice the size of the London Eye and the same height as New York’s iconic Rockefeller Centre. The first power milestone marks the first of what will eventually be 277 turbines powered-up across the project. Each of these turbines will be progressively commissioned between now and full commercial operation in 2026. When complete, Dogger Bank will be the world’s largest offshore wind farm, more than two and a half times the size of the largest offshore wind farm currently in operation^.  

Dogger Bank sits 70 nautical miles (130km) off the coast of Yorkshire and will occupy an area almost as large as Greater London and nearly twice the size of New York City.

GE's Haliade-X 13 MW turbines at Dogger Bank. Photo credit: Dogger Bank Wind Farm

World-firsts in supply chain delivery

The Dogger Bank project has delivered several world-firsts in supply chain delivery that will significantly accelerate the speed at which future offshore projects can be developed. The precision offshore installation of GE Vernova’s new 13MW Haliade-X turbine technology at Dogger Bank A was completed by expert technicians and engineers working off Jan De Nul Group's newest jack-up installation vessel, Voltaire. With a lifting capacity of 3,200 tonnes, the Voltaire is the largest offshore jack-up installation vessel of her kind in the world and the first ultra-low emissions ship of its kind.

Dogger Bank also marks the first use of HVDC transmission technology to connect a British wind farm to National Grid’s UK energy network. This includes the installation of the world’s first unmanned offshore HVDC substation platform at the site, as well as first use of Hitachi Energy’s HVDC Light® transmission system which was successfully executed in record time of 38 months with the highest safety and quality standards.

GE Vernova Offshore Wind CEO Jan Kjaersgaard said:

“We are delighted to have energised the first Haliade-X turbine at sea as part of the Dogger Bank Wind Farm, and we want to congratulate our customers and thank all of our partners on achieving this important milestone. At GE Vernova we are committed to electrifying the world while simultaneously working to decarbonize it.  We are honored to have been able to provide the first of a next generation of 13MW+ turbines for this historic project, reinforcing the critical role of technology innovation in meeting the challenges of climate change.”

Jan Van Impe, Manager Jan De Nul Offshore Renewables at Jan De Nul Group, added:

“Our Voltaire has proven today that the scale and characteristics of the offshore Dogger Bank turbines offer the perfect challenge for this next generation state-of-the art jack-up installation vessel. We are excited to have installed the very first offshore GE Haliade-X turbine on the Dogger Bank Wind Farm in a sustainable and efficient way, and we are looking forward to continuing this mission with industry leaders SSE Renewables, Equinor and Vårgrønn to further construct the energy transition for the UK energy market.”

Claudio Facchin, Chief Executive Officer, Hitachi Energy, said:

“The urgent energy transition requires strong collaboration, new business models, and global standards. We are proud to be the technology partner for the Dogger Bank Wind Farm project, with HVDC being the force multiplier for the clean energy transition, increasing access to an energy system that is more sustainable, flexible and secure. Today is a significant milestone in securing the UK’s future energy needs, made possible by foresighted partners such as SSE, Equinor and Vårgrønn, that have made the UK a leader in the transition to clean power.”

Roisin Quinn, director of customer connections at National Grid, said:

“It’s a momentous engineering achievement and landmark moment to see Dogger Bank exporting its first power onto the grid. When operational as the world’s biggest wind farm, its turbines will play a key role supplying Britain with green, homegrown energy. We’re proud to have played our part reinforcing our Creyke Beck substation in readiness to safely connect that clean power to our network, and on to homes and businesses around the country.”

Creating local jobs

More than 2,000 UK jobs have been created or supported in relation to the construction and operation activities of Dogger Bank. Many of these are based in the north of England, where the project’s supply chain is creating long-term opportunities for people just starting out in their careers, as well as more experienced workers transitioning from other industries to renewable energy.

RenewableUK's Chief Executive Dan McGrail said:

"The sheer scale of Dogger Bank shows that offshore wind is taking centre stage in Britain's clean energy system (…). This massive innovative clean energy project is a significant step forward for the UK's world-leading offshore wind industry, creating thousands of jobs and attracting billions in private investment. Coastal communities in the north of England and beyond are benefitting from the new industrial opportunities which offshore wind is providing. This shows that the Government is right to press ahead with policies to increase our energy security by ensuring that vital new clean energy projects can be built faster".

* 6 million homes powered per annum based on Typical Domestic Consumption Values in Britain (Medium Electricity Profile Class 1, 2,900kWh per household; OFGEM, January 2021), typical 55% offshore wind load factor, and projected installed capacity of 3.6GW.

*1.5 million cars based on an average petrol car, with an average annual mileage of 7,400 miles

^Dogger Bank Wind Farm is the world's largest offshore wind farm in construction at 3.6GW and will be the world's largest in operation once completed in 2026 (compared with the largest offshore wind farm at 1.4GW, currently in operation.)


About SSE plc

SSE’s purpose is to provide the energy needed today while building a better world of energy for tomorrow. We do this by developing, building, operating and investing inworld-class electricity infrastructure that is vital to the clean energy transition.  This includes onshore and offshore wind farms, hydro, electricity transmission and distribution networks, flexible generation, carbon capture and hydrogen storage, solar and batteries, as well as providing energy products and services for businesses and other customers.  

A FTSE-100company headquartered in the UK, SSE has a growing presence in selected international markets in Europe, Asia and North America. We employ c.12,000 talented and skilled people and are a proud ‘real Living Wage’ and ‘Living Hours’ employer and accreditee of the ‘Fair Tax Mark’.  SSE was also the first company in the world to develop a ‘Just Transition Strategy’ aimed at ensuring the benefits of the clean energy transition are shared by workers and communities.


About Equinor in the UK  


Equinor is a leading broad energy partner to the UK, supplying natural gas from Norway, developing domestic energy resources, and generating low-carbon electricity. Equinor has been operating in the UK for 40 years and aims to reach net zero emissions globally by 2050. Headquartered in Norway, the company employs 22,000 people globally, and over 650 in the UK. Equinor supports the UK economy by investing billions in crucial energy infrastructure, working with over 700 suppliers across the country.

Equinor currently powers around 750,000 UK homes through its three operational wind farms; Sheringham Shoal, Dudgeon, and the world’s first floating wind farm, Hywind Scotland. In partnership with SSE Renewables and Vårgrønn, Equinor is building the largest offshore wind farm in the world, Dogger Bank, off the Northeast coast of England, and is maturing its plans to extend both the Dudgeon and Sheringham Shoal wind farms.   

It is also a leader in both carbon capture and storage (CCS) and hydrogen, developing low-carbon power with carbon capture, hydrogen, and CO2 transport and storage projects in the UK. 


About Vårgrønn 


Vårgrønn is an agile, Norway-based offshore wind company powering the energy transition through development, construction, operation, and ownership of offshore wind assets. Vårgrønn is a joint venture between the energy company Plenitude (Eni) and the Norwegian energy entrepreneur and investor HitecVision. 

Vårgrønn currently holds a 20 percent stage in the world’s largest offshore windfarm under construction, Dogger Bank in the UK and has received exclusivity to develop up to 1.9 GW of floating offshore wind in Scotland together with partner Flotation Energy. Vårgrønn is also bidding for floating and bottom-fixed offshore wind projects in Norway together with partners. In the Baltics, Vårgrønn is leading a cooperation with European Energy to prepare for the upcoming auction rounds in Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia, and in Ireland, Vårgrønn is working together with Energia Renewables to advance offshore wind projects. Vårgrønn targets at least 5 GW of offshore wind in operation or sanctioned by 2030 across Northern Europe. 

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