Located in the Thames Estuary, the world’s largest operational offshore wind farm – the London Array – has a maximum generating power of 630 megawatts, enough to supply as many as 500 000 homes.
The wind farm became fully operational on 8 April 2013. Twenty days later, the Operational Land Imager on the Landsat 8 satellite captured the data for this close-up of the area. White points are the wind turbines; a few boat wakes are also visible. The sea is discoloured by light tan sediment.
To date, the London Array includes 175 wind turbines aligned to the prevailing southwest wind and spread out across 100 square kilometres. Each turbine stands 650 to 1 200 metres apart and 147 metres tall. Each is connected by cables buried in the seafloor, and power is transmitted to two substations offshore and to an onshore station at Cleve Hill.
With construction operations working out of Ramsgate, the Array is eventually supposed to grow to 245 square kilometres. The wind farm sits on two natural sandbanks, with water as deep as 25 metres. The site was chosen because of its proximity to onshore electric power infrastructure and because it stays out of the main shipping lanes through the area.
Image credit: Jesse Allen and Robert Simmon, using Landsat 8 data from the US Geological Survey
Caption credit: Michael Carlowicz
Source: Nasa Earth Observatory