The opening ceremony is to be supported by Mark Dance, the Cabinet Member for Economic Development at Kent County Council. Scores of local people and industry figures will see the ceremonial ribbon being cut on board the MV Balmoral, 7km off Herne Bay and Whitstable on Monday 6 June, 2016.
Speaking before the inauguration, Gunnar Groebler, Vattenfall’s Vice President of Business Area Wind, said: “Kentish Flats Extension is an important addition to our European fleet of offshore wind farms. The innovation we have deployed at KFE takes Vattenfall on its next step towards really competitive offshore wind.
“It is also an important newcomer to offshore wind off the Kent coast. We hope that local people around Herne Bay and Whitstable will value this new wind farm. There is an important international centre of offshore wind excellence emerging along the Kent coast, supporting the local economy, and we are happy to be part of that success story.”
He added: “We strongly believe that extensions also build and strengthen the existing local skills base and develop and sustain existing supply chains, helping to ensure that places like Kent stay at the forefront of the offshore wind industry.”
The seas off Kent are now home to a 1074MW offshore wind cluster, 21% of UK capacity. This includes KFE’s 49.5MW, Vattenfall’s 300MW Thanet Offshore Wind Farm, its 11-year old 90MW Kentish Flats Offshore Wind Farm and nearby, 635MW London Array owned by E.on and partners.
Kent County Council Cabinet Member for Economic Development Mark Dance said: “We are really pleased to support the expansion of one of the UK’s pioneering offshore wind farms. I’m looking forward to being at the opening ceremony to see the newest phase.
"This major investment further strengthens the important role the county is playing in the growth of offshore wind industry.
"It is great to think that the lasting benefits to our local economy and people is happening off the Kent coast and that we are at the forefront of this technology."
Vattenfall’s three wind farms off the Kent coast are made up of 145 turbines. They are maintained by 60 locally employed staff, most of whom are skilled technicians.
Recent industry statistics show offshore wind contributing 5% of UK demand in 2016. This is set to double by 2020, according to industry association RenewableUK[i].
KFE can generate enough power to meet the equivalent annual electricity demand of 35,000 UK households[ii]. The 49.5MW scheme was constructed through 2014 and 2015.
In total, Vattenfall owns around 2,200 MW of wind power, 1,300 MW of which is offshore. The state owned firm recently said it would prioritise investment in new wind generation as it works to meet its target of operating 7GW of installed capacity by 2025.
[ii] Based on Vattenfall estimates of projected annual average production of 173,000MWh.