The wind farm is located 12 miles off shore in the Thames estuary and contains 175 turbines. The site cost £1.5bn to build and will provide a renewable source of energy for almost half a million homes.
The final turbine was raised in December 2012 and the wind farm is now exporting energy to the national grid. Experts have estimated the site will reduce CO2 by more than 900,000 tonnes per year.
The London Array is the fruit of a collaboration between wind farm creators Dong Energy, energy firm E.ON and green energy firm Masdar.
Britain’s renewable energy agenda
Speaking at the opening David Cameron said: “This is a great day for Britain and a big win for renewable energy. London Array shows you can build large-scale renewable energy projects right here in Britain. This is because when it comes to clean energy, the UK has one of the clearest investment climates globally.”
Greenpeace’s executive director, John Sauven, agreed but urged Cameron to do more to promote the sector: “If offshore wind is to continue to provide jobs and economic growth for the UK and reach price parity with nuclear by the 2020s, David Cameron needs to do more than ribbon cut. He needs to give the sector long-term certainty by agreeing to cut carbon completely from our electricity sector.”
A divisive energy policy
The official opening of London Array comes in a week which has seen the government come under sustained criticism for its energy strategy. London mayor Boris Johnson recently questioned the value delivered by wind farms and claimed shale gas represented a better option for Britain.
The Taxpayers’ Alliance has also called for a change in policy and called on the government to reduce subsidies allocated to renewable energy projects.