THE final turbines at the world's largest offshore wind farm have been installed, taking the tally to 87.

The Ørsted site, off the coast of Walney, is set to become fully operational in the second half of 2018, with the capacity to generate enough clean energy to meet the annual demands of more than half a million UK homes.

Construction of the project is being co-ordinated from a base at the Port of Barrow, which already hosts the operating and maintenance teams for three other Ørsted offshore windfarms, Barrow, Walney and West of Duddon Sands.

Andrew Cotterell, programme director, said: "We are delighted to announce that all 87 turbines have been installed.

"It is thanks to the hard work of all the teams involved, both within Ørsted and our partner contractors, that we have successfully reached this significant milestone on schedule.

"We are now focused on completing construction and looking forward to seeing the world's largest wind farm brought safely into commercial operation later this year.

"Walney Extension is a prime example of the UK leading the way for offshore wind globally, demonstrating the commercial viability of the latest turbine technology, as well as the strength of the rapidly growing UK supply chain."

The installation includes the first ever Siemens Gamesa 7MW turbines to be used world-wide.

Clark MacFarlane, managing director of Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy, said: "The installation of the 47th and final 7MW turbine at Walney Extension is another celebration of how the wind industry is developing and what can be achieved in a very short space of time when we work in partnership.

"The first of our turbines at Walney Extension was installed as recently as beginning of January and the wind farm is now up.

"This demonstrates why the cost of Offshore Energy has come down significantly and is now an affordable solution for the UK consumer.

"This is an industrial success story driven by Orsted and its partners, and one that Siemens Gamesa is proud to be part of."

MHI Vestas Offshore Wind has installed 40 of its 8MW turbines, which have each been optimised to deliver a maximum output of 8.25MW.

Chief operations officer Flemming Ougaard said: "Walney Extension is taking the next leap forward in the offshore wind sector.

"With the successful installation of 40 MHI Vestas V164 turbines at a power rating of 8.25 MW, Walney Extension now claims some of the most powerful wind turbines installed anywhere in the world.

"We are proud to take this step forward with Ørsted in helping the UK accelerate its green energy transition."

Blair Ainslie, CEO of Seajacks UK, said: "Seajacks is delighted with the performance of Scylla at Walney Extension.

"The hard work of our offshore and onshore teams has paid off and all 87 turbines have been installed ahead of schedule.

"We look forward to working with Ørsted on future projects where the Scylla’s additional capability can be fully utilised on installation projects around the world.”

As part of Ørsted’s commitment to the region, a £15million Walney Extension community fund has been set up to support local projects and organisations, with around £600,000 made available each year during the expected 25-year lifetime of the wind farm.

£100,000 of this will be ring-fenced for a 'Skills Fund' to promote education and support local students.