Wind Farm's First Power

A massive windfarm off the coast of Ramsgate has started producing power for the first time.

When it is completed later this year, the London Array Offshore Wind Farm will be the biggest of its kind in the world. One-hundred-and-fifty-one turbines are currently in place at the site in the Thames Estuary, with another 24 due to go up over the next couple of months.

It will eventually produce enough power to supply 470,000 homes with electricity.

Laura Sandys, MP Thanet South, said: "Locally we are extremely pleased that London Array is now producing energy for homes across the South East. We are very proud that London Array is based in Thanet and that we are host to the largest offshore wind farm in the world.

"To have a world class wind farm maintained from Ramsgate is great for the local community and local business."

London Array is being built around 20km off the coasts of Kent and Essex. The wind farm will be installed on a 245km2 site and will be built in two phases. Phase One will cover 90km2 and include 175 turbines with a combined capacity of 630MW.

If approved, the second phase will add enough capacity to bring the total to 870MW.

Dr. Tony Cocker, CEO of E.ON UK which is part of the consortium involved in building and running the wind farm, said: "This is not only a very important milestone for the London Array development but also a major landmark for the global renewables sector.

"We firmly believe that electricity from renewable sources has a vital part to play in helping us to deliver energy in a way that is sustainable, affordable and secure and this is why we are aiming to reduce the costs of offshore wind by 40% by 2015."

The project consortium partners have the following shareholdings: DONG Energy owns 50%, E.ON has 30% and Masdar has a 20% stake.