The UK has as much offshore wind capacity as the rest of the world combined, with 568 installed turbines totalling 1,858MW off the coast of the country.
Based on the current pipeline of projects - seven wind farms are under construction and six are awaiting planning consent - the UK's sector lead is likely to continue until the end of the decade, according to Global Offshore Wind 2012, a report by Renewable UK.
Here we list the country's largest offshore wind farms in operation and under construction.
London Array - constructing the world's largest offshore wind farm
London Array will be the world's largest wind farm when completed.
The London Array, under construction in the outer Thames Estruary, 15km off the coast of Kent, will be the largest offshore wind farm in the UK and indeed the world once complete. The project, which commenced construction in July 2009, will consist of 341 turbines covering an area of 245km. The whole development is expected to cost around £3bn and is being built by London Array Limited, a consortium consisting of Masdar, E.ON and DONG Energy. The farm is being constructed in phases, the first of which is expected to become operational in Q4 2012 and will generate 630MW. The second stage will add enough capacity to generate 1,000MW for 750,000 homes.
Read the full London Array wind farm project.
Greater Gabbard offshore wind project
Greater Gabbard is located in the North Sea, 25km off the coast of Suffolk.
The Greater Gabbard Offshore Wind Project is being developed by joint venture partners Scottish and Southern Energy and RWE npower 25km off the coast of Suffolk, in the North Sea. Since construction began in 2009, 140 foundations have been placed and over 70 turbines have been installed. When the entire wind farm comes on stream, it will have a total capacity of 500MW and will produce 1900KWh every year, sufficient to power 530,000 homes. Siemens is supplying the SWT3.6 wind turbines and six 180MVA transformers. The company also performed the design, grid and performance studies for the wind farm.
Walney (I and II) - the world's largest operating wind farm
Walney is the world's largest wind farm covering 73km2.
Walney is the largest offshore wind farm in operation in the world. Located 15km west of Barrow-in-Furness, in Cumbria, the project consists of 102 turbines, the first of which began generating power in January 2011. The project was built in two phases, Walney I and Walney II, by Offshore Windfarms Limited, a partnership between Dong Energy and Scottish and Southern Energy. Walney I became fully operational in May 2011 and the entire project was inaugurated in March 2012. The wind farm has an installed capacity of 367.2MW and is capable of powering 320,000 households across the UK.
Sheringham Shoal offshore wind farm
Sheringham Shoal offshore wind farm consists of 88 wind turbines.
The Sheringham Shoal offshore wind farm is under construction in the Greater Wash, off the coast of Norfolk. When complete it will comprise 88 turbines with a capacity of 3.6MW each. These turbines will be spread across a diamond-shaped area of 35m2 and placed alongside two offshore substations. Scira Offshore, a joint venture between Norwegian energy companies StatoilHydro and Statkraft, is developing the project and has invested $1.8bn in the development so far. The site was allocated for the wind farm by the UK government in 2004 because of its favourable wind speeds and water depth.
Thanet wind farm has an installed capacity of 300MW.
Owned by Swedish energy company Vattenfall, Thanet is the world's second largest offshore wind farm in operation. It has an installed capacity of 300MW and an operational life of 40 years. Completed in June 2010, the wind farm consists of 100 3MW Vestas turbines spread over an area of 35km2 off the coast of Kent. Siemens carried out the design studies for the grid network and constructed an offshore substation, which includes two 180-MVA power transformers. The V9 wind turbines are installed at a depth of 20 to 25m and stand at 115m tall.
Centrica Lincs offshore wind farm
Substation jacket it positioned at Centrica Lincs wind farm.
The £1bn Lincs offshore wind farm is one of five renewable power projects being developed by Centrica Renewable Energy in the Greater Wash, off the coast of Skegness. The project began construction in 2010 and once completed will have an installed capacity of 250MW. In December 2009, DONG Energy and Siemens each acquired a 25% stake in the project from Centrica for £50 million, plus 50% of the development's capital cost. The farm, which will comprise 75 of Siemens' turbines, is expected to begin producing electricity in late 2012, and will become fully operational by 2013.