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Despite porpoise problem, world’s biggest offshore wind farm is a go

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Havvindparken Sheringham Shoal (Foto: Harald Pettersen / Statoil

Ministers in the United Kingdom on Tuesday approved the second phase of the world’s biggest offshore wind farm. Hornsea Project Two will include 300 turbines spread across 300 square miles, 55 miles off the cost of England in the North Sea. With an estimated energy capacity of 1.8 gigawatts, the project could provide enough power for 1.6 million homes.

But the wind farm is expected to bring more than just cleaner energy. According to British ministers, the project will create 1,960 construction jobs and 580 operational and maintenance jobs.

“The U.K.’s offshore wind industry has grown at an extraordinary rate over the last few years, and is a fundamental part of our plans to build a clean, affordable, secure energy system,” Greg Clark, the U.K.’s secretary of state for business, energy, and industrial strategy, told The Guardian. “Britain is a global leader in offshore wind, and we are determined to be one of the leading destinations for investment in renewable energy, which means jobs and economic growth right across the country.”

The decision was stalled for two months as regulators reviewed concerns about turbine noise intruding on porpoise habitats, reports to The Guardian.

Hornsea Project Two and it’s predecessor are both developments of Denmark’s Dong Energy, the world’s largest offshore wind farm operator. Although the energy giant made its final investment in the first phase this year, they have yet to officially commit to funding the second phase.

“Development consent for Hornsea Project Two is very welcome,” Dong Energy’s U.K. chairman, Brent Cheshire, told The Guardian. “We have already invested [$7.8 billion] in the U.K., and Hornsea Project Two provides us with another exciting development opportunity in offshore wind.”

The second phase is also expected to cost $7.8 billion if built to full capacity. “A project of this size will help in our efforts to continue reducing the cost of electricity from offshore wind and shows our commitment to investing in the U.K.,” Cheshire added.