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UK’s Largest Offshore Wind Farm Gets Go-Ahead After Funding Boost

One critic has denounced wind farms as ‘pointless,’ saying that electricity in the United States is far cheaper because of fracking.

Danish energy company Ørsted on Wednesday confirmed the development of the Hornsea 3 project in the North Sea, set to become the world’s largest offshore wind farm, following an uptick in UK financial backing for the sector.

The 2.9 gigawatt wind farm off the Yorkshire coast marks a pivotal £8 billion investment for Ørsted, and is designed to power around 3.3 million homes.

The move follows Ørsted’s recent challenges, including a $4 billion writedown in the United States, leading to key executive departures.

The Hornsea 3 project, featuring 14 megawatt turbines from Siemens Gamesa, a leading German manufacturer, marks a strategic milestone for Ørsted, signalling renewed confidence in the UK’s offshore wind sector.

Duncan Clark, head of Ørsted UK and Ireland, highlighted the significance of the Hornsea 3 project in advancing the country’s climate and clean energy objectives, saying, “Hornsea 3 will be a cornerstone in achieving the UK government’s climate and clean energy targets while increasing energy independence and creating local jobs.”

Mr. Clark underscored Ørsted’s commitment to the UK’s clean energy infrastructure, with Hornsea 3 emerging as the company’s most substantial investment decision to date.

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“Our decision to build Hornsea 3 is a vote of confidence in the UK market for offshore wind, as we continue to invest significantly in UK clean energy infrastructure and in the UK supply chain,” he said.

Wind Farms Denounced

Lois Perry, the director of Car26, a prominent climate-focused pressure group advocating for an “informed rational analysis of climate matters,” said subsidies for wind farms are ineffective, expensive, and detrimental to the affordability and reliability of electricity.

Speaking to The Epoch Times, Ms. Perry said that wind farms contribute to escalating electricity costs, rendering the grid unstable and intermittent.

“Wind farms are pointless, expensive, and don’t work. The only thing that they are effective for is making electricity unaffordable and the grid intermittent and unreliable,” she said.

The announcement follows a period of challenges for Ørsted, including financial setbacks and project withdrawals in the United States.

Despite these hurdles, the company’s positive outlook on the UK’s offshore wind sector signals a continued commitment to advancing renewable energy initiatives.

Drawing a parallel with the United States, where fracking is still widespread, Ms. Perry claimed that electricity there is eight times more affordable than in nations heavily reliant on wind energy.

“In the USA where they frack, their electricity costs eight times less. Yes, we pay eight times more for our electricity. It’s unbelievable.”

Ms. Perry also asserted that as a nation leans more towards renewable energy, its economy becomes less productive, raising concerns about the economic consequences of prioritising renewables.

She said, “The more renewables we use, the less productive we become, the worse our economy does.”

Questioning the viability of renewable projects in a free market, she also pointed out their dependence on government support, often in the form of subsidies.

“The fact this sector has to have government backing, i.e. our money for it, to be deemed viable to work tells you everything. If something is good, it’ll fly in a free market.”

Ørsted to Bid for Further Contracts

Ørsted plans to bid more for a portion of Hornsea’s capacity in the next government contracts auction in 2024, with analysts anticipating a strategic move for approximately 700 megawatts. The wind farm is expected to be operational by the end of 2027, contributing significantly to the UK’s green energy capabilities.

The project had faced uncertainties earlier this year, with Ørsted seeking additional UK government support amid cost surges linked to rising interest rates and supply chain strains.

Despite initial doubts, Hornsea 3 secured contracts in July 2022, guaranteeing an inflation-linked electricity price.

Rival Vattenfall, a Swedish multinational power company, halted a similar project owing to cost increases.

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