In recent years it has seemed like European countries are just constantly outdoing each other when it comes to wind power generation. The latest to steal the spotlight is The Netherlands, which has just opened a massive offshore wind farm that just falls short of being the world's largest.
The Gemini wind park features 150 4-GW wind turbines set in the North Sea about 53 miles off the Northern coast of the country. The long distance from shore has the benefit of being beyond the horizon so there is no visible evidence of it from shore but it also carries the benefit of harnessing the stronger winds in that area.
The park has a capacity of 600 MW and will generate an amazing 2.6 TWh of electricity every year, which will be enough to power 785,000 Dutch homes. The world's largest offshore wind farm is still the London Array which has a capacity of 630 MW.
Gemini will provide 13 percent of the country's electricity needs and will account for 25 percent of its wind power. The Netherlands has a goal of meeting 14 percent of its energy needs from renewable sources by 2020 and this project alone almost gets it there. The country also plans to reach 16 percent renewable energy by 2023 and to become carbon neutral by 2050.
The $3 billion wind park is a partnership between Canadian independent renewable energy company Northland Power, wind turbine manufacturer Siemens Wind Power, Dutch maritime contractor Van Oord and waste processing company HVC and will reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 1.25 million tons.
Europe will be seeing even more giant wind farms soon enough. The UK has two wind farms in the works, both over 1 GW in capacity that will become the largest in the world. Those are set to be completed by the end of the decade.