Construction began at the 165-turbine project, 89km off the coast of Yorkshire, in 2018. Ørsted announced on Wednesday 31 August that it is now fully operational.
The Dutch business now has 13 fully operational offshore wind farms in the UK that it either fully or partly owned, with a combined capacity of 6.2GW. Its other British projects include Hornsea 1, Walney and the Walney Extension, and Burbo Bank and the Burbo Bank Extension.
“The UK is truly a world leader in offshore wind and the completion of Hornsea 2 is a tremendous milestone for the offshore wind industry, not just in the UK but globally,” said Ørsted,’s head of region for the UK Duncan Clark.
“Current global events highlight more than ever the importance of landmark renewable energy projects like Hornsea 2, helping the UK increase the security and resilience of its energy supply and drive down costs for consumers by reducing dependence on expensive fossil fuels.”
To Clark’s point on cost, the Government is currently consulting on what it describes as the broadest plans for electricity market reform in a generation. Among the measures proposed in the Review of Electricity Market Agreements (REMA) are interventions to de-couple global gas prices from electricity prices. Prime Minister Boris Johnson spoke out in favour of change at last month’s G7 Summit in Germany.
In the UK, wholesale electricity prices are informed by gas prices, partly due to the historic and present extent of gas-fired generation in the energy mix. It has been pointed out that this is not fair on domestic and business customers who purchase 100% renewable energy. Under the latest CfD round, offshore wind operators will sell power for as little as £37.35 per MWh.
Offshore wind expansion
The UK is aiming to host 50GW of offshore wind by 2030 in contribution to its ambitions on net-zero emissions and energy security. This target was announced in April’s Energy Security Strategy, increasing the previous 40GW target set by Johnson through the Ten-Point Plan. The Strategy envisions 95% of the UK’s electricity mix being low-carbon by 2030, rising to 100% by 2035.
A further extension in the Hornsea zone is set to help deliver on the 50MW by 2030 goal. Last year, Ørsted received allocation through the Contracts for Difference (CfD) auction scheme for Hornsea 3, after the project received consent for development in December 2020. Up to 231 turbines will be installed for Hornsea 3 and Ørsted expects to commission the project in 2027. In total, the three Hornsea projects will have a combined capacity exceeding 5GW.
In the UK government’s latest CfD auction round in July, 11GW of renewable energy was commissioned in total. The lion’s share, as usual, went to offshore wind developers.