Orsted this weekend started operations at the 1.2GW Hornsea 1 project that will be the world's largest offshore wind farm when it enters service off eastern England.

The huge scale of the project means that operations are beginning before construction is complete, said the Danish developer.

The project’s first operational team of 32 sailed on Friday from Grimsby to the wind farm, 120km out to sea. They are part of two shift-based teams that are responsible for operating and maintaining the wind farm around the clock.

The teams will each spend two weeks at a time offshore, staying on a state-of-the-art Service Operations Vessel, equipped with 40 cabins, a games room, a cinema and a gym.

To date, over 50 of the 174 Siemens Gamesa 7MW turbines are operational, and turbine installation is expected to continue until late summer.

When fully operational next year, the wind farm will be able to power well over a million UK homes.

“Hornsea 1 changes the game in the way we produce clean electricity around the globe. It’s the first of a new generation of offshore wind farms, that are much bigger than anyone has ever attempted to build before,” said Morten Holm, the project's head of operations.

Hornsea 1's reign as the world's largest offshore wind project will be short-lived. Orsted's 1.4GW Hornsea 2 is due to enter service by 2022, with the developer today announcing Bladt Industries as supplier of transition pieces to that project.