Dong Energy has decided to go ahead with the 660MW Walney Extension offshore wind farm construction in the Irish Sea, following final investment decision for the project.

Once operational, it is claimed it will be the largest offshore wind power generating station in the world.

The wind farm is an extension of the existing 367MW Walney 1 and Walney 2 wind farms, which Dong Energy owns a 50.1% stake.

The extension project is in line with Dong Energy’s strategy of having 6.5GW of installed capacity online by 2020 and was awarded guaranteed power contracts by the UK Government in April 2014.

"Once operational, it is claimed it will be the largest offshore wind power generating station in the world."

Dong Energy executive vice-president Samuel Leupold said: "British offshore wind has seen phenomenal growth in recent years. A prerequisite for long-term growth in the industry is that offshore wind eventually can compete on costs with other energy technologies.

"Building Walney Extension will bring us one step closer to that target, and I’m satisfied to see that we keep bringing costs down, while continuing to expand the UK supply chain.

"I’m also excited about the fact that turbine blades, part of the foundations and cable installation will come from UK manufacturing facilities and vessels and create local jobs."

The project has secured approval from regulatory authorities and will be completed with the site assessments and signing of agreements for supply and installation.

It will be developed and operated under the EMR FID-enabling regime in the UK, with a fixed price for the initial 15 years of production.

The project is to be equipped with two variants of wind turbines, which will include 40 units of 8MW turbines from MHI Vestas Offshore Wind and 47 of Siemens 7MW offshore turbines.

Expected to be fully commissioned by 2018, the wind project will have the capacity to meet the energy requirements of more than 460,000 UK households.