London Array – England - Atlas Obscura

London Array

The largest offshore wind farm in the world would be even bigger if it weren't for some pesky birds. 


The London Array, which carries the title of the world’s largest offshore wind farm, is a staggering field of turbines sticking out of the sea, which would have continued to grow like weeds if it were not for the path of some migratory birds.

Work on the London Array, located in the Thames Estuary, began in 2011 and was quickly completed by 2013. The farm consists of 175 towering wind turbines that rise up out of the ocean in a grid pattern. All of the giant propellers create energy that is then routed through a couple of sub stations that also sit offshore, dwarfed among the turbines. At full operation, the windmills can create enough juice to power over half a million British homes a year. And this was just Phase 1.

However as Phase 2, which would have seen the farm expand by over 150 turbines, was about to commence, the ambitious project hit a snag. Apparently the new turbines were looking to be built right in the migratory flight path of a type of loon known as the “red-throated diver,” which would have created a wall of spinning, carbon-neutral deathtraps for the birds. The planners tried to find a way to safely restructure the location of the new turbines, but a suitable alternative was never found, and the second phase was cancelled in February of 2014.

Despite the cessation of further turbine growth, the London Array is still a massively impressive undertaking that currently provides a massive amount of clean energy to the mainland.      

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