DONG Energy has decided to retire “Vindeby”, the world’s first offshore wind farm, which 25 years ago marked the birth of the offshore wind industry.
Today, offshore wind is a recognised and proven renewable energy technology, and the offshore wind turbines harvest the energy from the wind, transforming it into green power for millions of households. But it is actually only some 25 years ago that the world's first offshore wind farm was constructed close to shore in the low waters off Vindeby near Lolland in the south east of Denmark.
Vindeby Offshore Wind Farm, consisting of 11 offshore wind turbines, was connected to the grid in 1991. After more than 25 years of service, DONG Energy – owner and operator of the wind farm – has now decided to decommission Vindeby Offshore Wind Farm. But even though the wind farm is now being decommissioned, and even though the Vindeby turbines are small compared to current standards, they have been of vital importance for the industry according to Leif Winther, responsible for DONG Energy's Danish offshore wind farms:
"Vindeby Offshore Wind Farm is almost miniature-size in comparison with the giant projects which are now being realised in Northern Europe. But without the experience gained from the world's first offshore wind farm, we wouldn't be where we are today. It’s fair to say that Vindeby is the cradle of the offshore wind industry, and that this is where the industry was born," says Leif Winther.
DONG Energy has installed more than 1,000 offshore wind turbines in Denmark, Germany
and the UK and is continuing to invest heavily in offshore wind farm projects in these countries as well as in the Netherlands
, the United States
When the wind turbines at Vindeby were installed in 1991, they were lifted into place in one piece, but when decommissioning begins in March 2017, the blades, nacelle and tower will be dismantled and taken down individually by a mobile crane on board a jack-up vessel. The concrete foundations will be broken down on site, mainly by hydraulic demolition shears, and collected afterwards.