The 573MW Race Bank is offshore wind farm located nearly 27km off the UK east coast in the North Sea. (Credit: Ørsted A/S)
The offshore wind farm generates enough electricity to power around 500,000 homes. (Credit: Ørsted A/S)
One of the Race Bank offshore electrical substations being transported to the location. (Credit: Alf van Beem/

Race Bank is an operational offshore wind farm located nearly 27km off the UK east coast in the North Sea.

With a capacity of 573MW, the Race Bank Offshore Wind Farm generates enough electricity to power around 500,000 homes in the UK. The project also offsets more than 830,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions annually.

The UK’s Department of Energy and Climate Change gave development consent for the wind farm in July 2012.

In 2013, Centrica sold the Race Bank project to Ørsted (then DONG Energy) for £50m.

Construction works for Race Bank commenced in 2015 and the project became fully operational in 2018.

Ørsted owns a 50% stake in the offshore farm. The other stakeholders are Macquarie European Infrastructure Fund 5 (25%), Sumitomo (12.5%) and funds managed by Green Investment Group (12.5%).

The wind farm is operated and maintained from the East Coast Hub located in Grimsby. The location supports a workforce of more than 300 people.

In 2019, Diamond Transmission Partners acquired transmission assets of Race Bank for £472.5m. The sale included the onshore and offshore substations and export cables.

Location and site details

The Race Bank Offshore Wind Farm is located around 27km off the north Norfolk Coast at water depths ranging from 4m to 22m. The site is around 28km east of Chapel St. Leonards off the Lincolnshire coast.

Overall, the project covers an area of 75km2.

The power export cable makes a landfall in the Wash, while the onshore substation is located near Walpole.

Race Bank Offshore Wind Farm details

Race Bank consists of 91 wind turbines on monopile foundations. With a rotor diameter of 154m, the Siemens SWT-6.0-154 turbines have a power generating capacity of 6.3MW. The turbines have a height of 177m from the mean sea level.

The wind turbine generators are connected to two offshore substations situated within the boundaries of the facility.

An array cable network of eight feeder circuits is connected to the northern offshore substation and nine to the southern offshore substation.

The two identical offshore substations are connected to the onshore substation through subsea export cables to transport renewable energy. They are also interlinked to mitigate risks to operational availability.

The substation topside structure is 35m high and weighs 2,900 tonnes. The piles and jacket of the substation weigh 2,600 tonnes.

The project supported more than 4,600 offshore roles during the construction phase.

Ørsted also uses a Service Operation Vessel for offshore maintenance. The vessel, which remains offshore for 14 days with technicians, helps in improving accessibility and maximising the delivery of services to the wind farm.

Power evacuation

The two Race Bank offshore substations transport the renewable power to the onshore substation in Walpole through two 220kV offshore and onshore export cables. Thereafter, the onshore substation feeds the electricity to the national grid.

Overall, the route stretches nearly 83km. This includes a route length of around 71km to onshore transition joints and two onshore export cables of around 11.6km from the onshore transition joints to an onshore substation.

Contractors involved

Royal HaskoningDHV carried out environmental assessments prior to the installation works related to the wind farm.

RPS was associated with the Race Bank since 2004. Orsted also hired RPS for amending and discharging onshore pre-commencement planning conditions as well as securing new planning permissions for the onshore substation and inter-tidal cable installation works.

The Seabed Mobility Assessment was completed by ABPmer, while high-resolution aerial wildlife surveys of the project were conducted by APEM.

Siemens Gamesa supplied 91 SWT-6.0-154 wind turbines for the Race Bank Offshore Wind Farm, while Eiffage Smulders built two topsides and two jackets for offshore substations of the wind farm.

Vercity managed the Management Service Agreement (MSA) for Firebolt Ltd related to the project.

RXHK, then part of RXPE, was contracted for two STATCOM based +-120Mvar dynamic reactive compensation systems to ensure UK Grid Code reactive power and voltage control compliance. All RXHK-supplied equipment are based in the onshore substation near Walpole.

Murphy received the contract to install onshore cables along an 11.5km cable route from the landfall area to the onshore substation, while DeepOcean received the contract for array cable installation for the wind farm.

JDR won supplied inter-array cables for the project. The scope of work included 110km of 36kV inter-array cables and other related accessories including hang-offs, electrical t-connectors and cable cleats.

Firemac FM Blue boards were installed at the wind farm to offer protective-screened enclosures around two shunt reactors and two DRC transformers. The installation works were carried out by Nimmo Industrial Buildings on behalf of J. Murphy & Sons Ltd.

CallMac Scaffolding received the contract of providing safe offshore access to wind turbines.

Jan De Nul Group was associated with the cable installation between the wind farm and the mainland- the nature reserve The Wash on the east coast of UK.

Race Bank Extension project

In October 2018, Ørsted received approval from The Crown Estate in the UK to advance with the potential Race Bank Extension project.

The proposed extension will be located beside the existing wind farm. It is expected to generate an additional 573MW of green electricity.

Ørsted owns a 70% stake in the Race Bank Extension joint venture, with  Green Investment Group (17.5%) and Sumitomo Corporation (12.5%) being the other stakeholders.