A ‘mega’ offshore wind farm just went online — and it will power over a million homes

A 1.5-gigawatt wind farm has begun operation in the North Sea, and it’s set to bring clean, renewable power to residents of the Netherlands.

The annual electricity production is expected to meet the demands of 1.5 million homes, and it will be fully operational in 2024 with 139 wind turbines, reports Electrek.

The joint development from chemical company BASF, power company Vattenfall, and financial services company Allianz was achieved without government subsidies, according to Electrek. However, the government did guarantee the license for the development.

According to a press release from BASF, each turbine has an 11-megawatt capacity, and the tip height is 738 feet (225 meters) above sea level. The entire Hollandse Kust Zuid site covers an area of about 87 square miles (225 square kilometers).

Head of wind at Vattenfall, Helene Biström, said in the release that the company is looking to be a world leader when it comes to green energy generation, stating that “offshore wind is essential for energy security and to achieve net zero.”

“Hollandse Kust Zuid will not only contribute to reducing BASF’s carbon footprint but will also help meet local businesses and households demand for fossil free electricity,” Biström added.

Meanwhile, Martin Brudermüller, chairman of the board of executive directors of BASF SE, said nearly half of the energy generated by the turbines would be used to reduce the energy-based carbon pollution from BASF sites across Europe.

While the immediate goal is to provide dirty fuel–free power, the offshore farm has taken into account its potential impact on biodiversity in the area.

For example, per the press release, a “double bubble screen” has been used to dampen underwater noise from the turbines that could be damaging to harbor porpoises.

Elsewhere, large water replenishment holes in the foundations allow marine life to shelter, and artificial rock reefs provide a habitat for fish, crabs, and crustaceans to thrive.

Sustainability in construction was important to the project, too. The turbine blades are fixed using a special resin that can be dissolved after the working life of the structures has reached its end, making them much easier to recycle.

The Netherlands government wants to reduce planet-warming pollution by 49% compared to 1990 levels by 2030, with the goal to reach a 95% reduction by 2050. This HKZ offshore wind farm is just one ambitious project to help meet those aspirations.

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