The Rampion wind farm, eight miles off the coast of Sussex, was officially launched at a ceremony on the i360 in Brighton today (November 30).
The 116 turbines are set to generate enough power for around 350,000 homes.
After three years of construction work involving a workforce of around 750 people, Rampion was officially opened by Her Majesty’s Lord Lieutenant of West Sussex, Susan Pyper today (November 30).
Students from Davison High School for Girls in Worthing, who back in 2010 won a schools competition to name the wind farm after the county flower of Sussex, were also in attendance for the unveiling of a plaque at the i360 observation tower in Brighton to commemorate the occasion.
The wind farm went into full operation in the spring, and is owned by E.ON, Enbridge and the UK Green Investment Rampion Ltd.
Michael Lewis, chief executive of E.ON UK, said: “Wind power, both onshore and offshore, continues to prove itself as a key part of the UK’s future energy mix and sits as a cost-effective alternative to higher carbon forms of power generation.
“Not only will Rampion play a vital role in helping the UK meet its commitment to decarbonise the energy sector but it will continue to support the local economy, sparking the regeneration of Newhaven Port, sustaining highly skilled roles including apprenticeships as well as introducing the £3.1million Rampion Fund for community organisations and projects over the next decade.”
Claire Perry, energy and clean growth minister, said: “It's great to see the south coast's first offshore wind farm opening, powering around 350,000 homes, creating hundreds of high quality jobs and building on our reputation as a world leader in this sector.”
Sussex MPs also praised the scheme.
Lloyd Russell-Moyle, Labour MP for Brighton Kemptown, said: "I'm immensely proud that Rampion is off the shore of my constituency where we're leading the way for renewable energy, tackling climate change for our future and showing you can think big and bring jobs to our communities."
Tim Loughton, Conservative MP for East Worthing and Shoreham, said: "This is a great renewable energy scheme by E.On... it's proving a bit of a tourist attraction as well."
Caroline Lucas, Green MP for Brighton Pavilion, said: "Rampion wind farm is living proof that tackling climate change is good for jobs and is good for people's wellbeing."
Offshore construction of the wind farm began in early 2016. The project achieved first generation in November 2017 and by spring this year all 116 turbines were commissioned and able to provide power to the grid.
Project investment will continue into next year with the opening of a visitor centre on the Brighton seafront by summer 2019, which will house interactive displays for visitors to learn more about climate change, offshore wind energy and the Rampion story.
Rampion - in numbers
• The south coast’s first offshore wind farm has 116 turbines between 13 and 20km off the Sussex coast
• It covers 70 km2 in the English Channel and is larger than the island of Guernsey
• Turbines are made up of an 80m tower, the hub and three 55m long blades
• When vertical, the tip of the turbine blade reaches 140m, just taller than Brighton i360’s viewing pod
• It has a generation capacity of 400MW around the same as a modern gas-fired power station and 33% more power than the original Bankside Power Station in London (now the Tate Modern Gallery)
• It generates 1,400 gigawatt hours of green power each year, equal to the amount used per year by about 350,000 UK homes, or around half the homes in Sussex
• Construction began in autumn 2015 with first power delivered to the grid in November 2017
• It will reduce CO2 emissions by almost 600,000 tonnes a year - 15 million tonnes over its operational lifetime
• 140km of cables (the equivalent of Brighton to London and back) are buried under the seabed
• A 65-strong team of technicians, apprentices, engineers, marine workers and administrative staff operate from a dedicated base at Newhaven