Centrica's first offshore wind farm is now officially open and generating clean, green electricity for British Gas customers.
The 30 turbine, 90MW wind farm is situated near Barrow-in-Furness, just 7km south west of Walney Island in the East Irish Sea.
Construction and commissioning work, costing over £100 million, was completed in June, although power from the first row of turbines was exported to the national grid at Heysham, in March this year. Since then, it has attracted positive media attention including Sky and BBC News and a visit by Secretary of State, Alistair Darling.
Mr Darling visited the wind farm just a few days after the Government announced the outcome of its recent energy review. He spoke then about the importance of such projects reducing emissions of carbon dioxide in the fight against climate change.
Local government representatives and employees from Centrica, DONG and local and national contractors took part in the opening ceremony at Walney School, which overlooks the wind farm. Centrica Chief Executive Sam Laidlaw, and DONG Energy's CEO Anders Eldrup thanked those involved in the project for their support. And, with the help of local schoolchildren, they unveiled a plaque to mark the official opening.
Centrica is no stranger to the Cumbrian town of Barrow-in-Furness of course, operating the gas terminals at Rampside and the nearby Roosecote power station which supplys energy to British Gas customers. For many years it has been an important employer and contributed to the local community.
Mr Laidlaw announced that Barrow Offshore Wind partners, Centrica and DONG Energy, are to be the main private sponsor of Walney School's current efforts to win special engineering status for their school, contributing £25,000 to its fund. If successful, the application would bring in significant additional funding and allow the school to further develop engineering as part of its curriculum.
School head, Alan Dickenson is keen to encourage youngsters to consider the options engineering offers in the area and to follow this through with college courses that are available.