The London Array


The London Array

The London Array, in the Thames Estuary, was, until recently, the world’s largest offshore wind farm - but could have been even bigger if it wasn't for some inconvenient birds.

The London Array is one of the world’s leading offshore wind farms, a huge field of turbines sticking out of the sea. Its conception and construction attracted international attention, and paved the way for the current generation of even larger wind farms being built around Britain’s coastline.

Work on the London Array, located in the Thames Estuary, began in 2011 and was completed by 2013. The farm consists of 175 towering wind turbines that rise up out of the ocean in a grid pattern. All of the giant propellers create energy that is then routed through a couple of sub stations that also sit offshore, dwarfed among the turbines. At full operation, the windmills can create enough energy to power over half a million British homes a year. And this was just Phase 1.

However, as Phase 2, which would have seen the farm expand by over 150 turbines, was about to begin, the ambitious project hit a snag when the RSPB pointed out that the new turbines would be built right in the migratory flight path of a type of migratory bird known as the “red-throated diver,” which would have created a wall of spinning, carbon-neutral deathtraps for the birds. The planners tried to find a way to safely restructure the location of the new turbines, but a suitable alternative was never found, and the second phase was cancelled in February of 2014.

Despite the cessation of further turbine growth, the London Array is still a massively impressive undertaking that currently provides a massive amount of clean energy to the mainland.    

Further reading

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