Huge Irish Sea wind project seeks Mersey suppliers

Firms across Liverpool city region are being invited to get involved in a giant wind farm project in the Irish Sea that will provide power to 3.4m homes. Tony McDonough reports

Gas Cerberus
Liverpool Bay is home to two large wind farms. Picture by Tony McDonough


Firms across Liverpool city region could become suppliers for two giant wind farms planned for the Irish Sea that could provide power for 3.4m homes.

Oil giant BP and German renewable energy firm Baden-Württemberg AG (EnBW) were jointly selected as preferred bidder for the two leases in the K Offshore Wind Round 4, the first such UK leasing round since 2010.

Named Morgan and Mona, the two new wind farms would sit 30km off the North West and North Wales coast. They will have a combined potential generating capacity of 3GW, sufficient to power the equivalent of approximately 3.4m homes.

The UK is already one of the global leaders for wind energy. It currently has a total installed capacity of 24.3 gigawatts – 13.9 gigawatts of onshore capacity and 10.4 gigawatts of offshore capacity. Almost a quarter of the UK’s electricity came from wind in 2020.

Now the Government is committing to a significant expansion of offshore wind capacity by 2030, taking total capacity to 40 gigawatts by 2030 in a £40bn investment that will create tens of thousands of jobs.

Liverpool city region and North Wales have become leaders in offshore wind thanks to two large wind farms in Liverpool Bay. Burbo Bank Extension is located in Liverpool Bay, four miles north of Wirral. It was commissioned in July 2017 and comprises 32 8.13MW turbines. It has a grid capacity of 258MW and is operated by Orsted.

The original Burbo Bank wind farm first started generating power from 25 3.6MW turbines in 2007. The relative size of the new turbines illustrates how quickly wind turbine technology is advancing.

Gwynt y Môr, off the North Wales coast, is even bigger. It comprises 160 3.6MW turbines. Earlier this year, plans were submitted to build 107 new turbines in the wind farm. These would offer more than 100MW of electricity. Combined, the Liverpool Bay wind farms can generate power for 700,000 homes.

Wind power technology is advancing constantly and the proposed new turbines in the BP and Energie Baden-Württemberg project would take the sector to a new level. And it is encouraging Liverpool city region firms to get involved in the project. They can find out more and express interest via a new supplier portal.

Wind, BP
Site of the proposed Irish Sea wind farms


Industry body Mersey Maritime has teamed up with innogy Renewables UK to promote the Offshore Energy Alliance, the North West and North Wales supply chain cluster. It will provide support for offshore and energy related businesses and activities.

Richard Haydock, BP project director, said: “These leases will play a critical role in helping deliver the UK government’s aim of producing enough offshore wind to power every UK home, quadrupling the country’s generating capacity to 40GW by 2030.

“We think it’s incredibly important that the local supply chain contributes to that, so have today launched a dedicated supplier portal where local companies can pair their skills with the projects’ needs. The portal provides access for companies of all sizes to register their interest for future work.”

This is BP’s first foray into the UK’s offshore wind power sector. EnBW operates onshore wind assets in Germany, France and Sweden and operates four offshore wind assets in the German Baltic Sea and North Sea.

Morgan and Mona were previously referred to as lease areas 1 and 2, or Yellow North and Yellow South. They are approximately 300sq km and 500sq km in size, respectively, are located around 30km from the coast, and in average water depths of around 35m.

Earlier this year both companies initiated a wildlife survey and are looking at the geologic conditions at the proposed sites. The Irish Sea is also home to multiple shipping routes and the partnership is establishing a maritime navigation forum to identify ways to minimise impact to shipping.

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