Phase one of the London Array usurped the UK's Greater Gabbard to become the largest operational offshore wind farm in the world when its final turbine (its 175th) was commissioned on Saturday afternoon. Though construction was completed back in December, it is only now that all of the farm's turbines are supplying the UK's national grid with electrical power. The array has a total capacity of 630 MW.

London Array is located some 20 km (12.4 miles) off the Kent coast, England's most south-eastern county which borders Greater London to its northwest. The 3.6-MW turbines are spread over an area of 90 sq km (35 sq miles).

Government backing for the farm was granted back in 2006, though construction didn't begin until March 2011. The farm has been completed to schedule.

"London Array is a significant achievement in renewable energy," said Tony Cocker, CEO of E-ON UK, joint owners of the array along with Dong Energy and Masdar. "The world's largest operational offshore wind farm will be capable of generating enough energy to power nearly half a million homes and reduce harmful CO2 emissions by over 900,000 tonnes a year," he added.

Though initially conceived as a 1-GW wind farm, it's now thought that a possible second phase would bring capacity up to 870 MW.

It was little more than a year ago that we reported on the opening of the second phase of Walney wind farm, making it the then-largest farm at 367.2 MW of capacity. The London Array looks set to remain largest for a little longer, as no larger farms are yet to emerge from the proposal stage. However, 2.5 GW offshore farms are planned for Sweden and South Korea.

Source: Dong Energy