The Kentish Flats Wind Farm sits on a large, flat, shallow plateau six miles north east of Whitstable, and can be seen from the East Quay jetty. It was completed in August 2005. The wind farm consists of 30 wind turbine generators (WTG) each with a capacity of three megawatts (MW), making 90MW in total. The turbines are linked to the shore through cables into Hampton, Herne Bay, from where the electricity is distributed through the network to over 100,000 households in the north east Kent area.
Each WTG, including foundations, tower, nacelle and rotor blades, weighs approximately 500 tonnes. The water depth averages just five metres and each tower stands 70 metres above sea level. Each rotor has a diameter of 90 metres so the tip of each blade reaches 115m above sea level. The rotors operate in wind speeds between 8-50 knots.
Engineers access the wind farm by boat and reach the generating machinery inside each nacelle by means of a lift inside each tower. The WTGs were manufactured by the Danish company Vestas and are now owned by the Swedish power company Vattenfall. The total cost of the project was £105 million. Vestas operates and maintains the wind farm under contract from Vattenfall and has its operational and maintenance base here at the harbour’s West Quay. It is the most efficient wind farm in Europe.