Dong Energy, the Danish utility, has this week begun the process of decommissioning the world's first offshore wind development - a wind farm that led the way for a new generation of huge offshore wind turbines. After 25 years of valuable service, the Vindeby wind farm will be taken apart and its turbines will be moved back to shore.
Vindeby wind farm, located off the south-east Danish coast, was viewed as being a curiosity when it was first built but rapidly evolved to become a key player in the European transition to clean energy. With eleven turbines in operation, it became a poster project for a rapidly evolving clean energy technology.
The turbines are located 1.5km away from shore and are 54 metres tall. They were connected to the Danish national grid in 1991 and provided energy to c. 2,200 homes.
Today Dong is progressing the Project One wind farm in Hornsea, which will see 174 turbines connected to the grid from 120km out at sea. Each turbine will be a huge 190 metres above the sea level and will produce enough power for over a million homes.
In comparison, Vindeby Offshore wind farm was tiny in comparison, but it provided the knowledge and experience that enabled the company to get to the position it is in today. The expectation is that the decommissioning will also act as a learning project to flag up best practices for removing marine wind developments in a way that reduces impacts on marine life.
The blades, towers and nacelles will be taken down, and the concrete foundations will be demolished on-site before being collected. Most of the turbine elements will be recycled or reused, and one turbine will join the collection at the Danish Museum of Energy.