Denmark on Thursday inaugurated the world's biggest offshore wind farm in time to serve as a showcase of its green technological prowess before a global climate conference in Copenhagen in December.
The 91-turbine Horns Rev 2 wind farm off the west coast of Jutland in the North Sea will generate enough electricity for 200,000 Danish households.
Horns Rev 2 is an important step in our energy policy, Danish Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen told guests gathered for the opening ceremony in the west-coast town of Esbjerg.
It's our ambition that Denmark will be a green growth laboratory, Rasmussen said after he joined Crown Prince Frederik in inaugurating the park on its offshore platform.
The 209-megawatt development by state-owned DONG Energy took 18 months of construction to complete and is the offshore wind farm situated furthest out to sea, 30 km off the coast, northwest of Esbjerg.
The total investment stands at 3.5 billion Danish crowns
The 3.5 billion crowns ($694 million) wind park overtakes another Denmark installation, the 166-MW Nysted wind farm -- also DONG Energy's -- as the world's biggest offshore wind park.
But it will be superseded by the 630-MW London Array wind park in the Thames Estuary once that comes on stream in time for the London Olympics in 2012.
The wind park, consisting of 13 parallel rows of seven turbines each that spread out fan-like, is the world's first to have an offshore accommodation platform that can house up to 24 workers. Plans call for it to be manned year-round.
The turbines are from Siemens and rise to a total height of 114.5 meters above sea level. An additional 30-40 meters are below the surface. Each has a capacity of 2.3 megawatts, and the blade diameter is 93 meters.
Current from the turbines goes by buried cables to a transformer on the platform from where the electricity is brought ashore by a subsea cable.
World leaders will meet in the Danish capital on December 7-19 to try to hammer out a new global climate treaty to replace the Kyoto Protocol that expires in 2012.
Denmark, which gets a fifth of its electricity production from wind, aims for an ambitious treaty in Copenhagen and hopes the conference will also boost its environmental technology industry.
If a new U.N. climate pact imposes tough emissions cuts, wind power stands to benefit as countries will be forced to turn increasingly to non-carbon renewable energy sources.
Rasmussen said the green agenda will play an important role at the United Nations climate conference in Copenhagen in December. Nobody can stop the growth of green energy, he said.
(Additional reporting by Karin Jensen, editing by William Hardy)