Why Offshore Wind Developments are Growing in Popularity

Offshore wind farms are constructed in bodies of water. Despite the term “offshore”, these wind farms are constructed not only in the ocean but also in lakes, fjords and sheltered coastal areas. These farms harvest wind energy in order to generate electricity. Compared to the wind speeds on land, the wind speeds on the water are much higher, enabling significantly higher electricity generation per capacity installed. As of 2018, the total worldwide offshore wind power capacity was 23.1 gigawatt (GW).

Where are offshore wind farms located?

All the largest offshore wind farms are currently in northern Europe. Together the United Kingdom and Germany account for over two-thirds of the total offshore wind power installed worldwide. However, while offshore wind power has become a critical part of northern Europe power generation, it still accounts for less than 1% of overall world electricity generation. The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) predicted in 2016 that offshore wind power will grow to 8% of the ocean economy by 2030, and that its industry will employ 435,000 people and add $230 billion of value to the economy.

  • As of September 2018, the 659 MW Walney Extension in the United Kingdom is the largest offshore wind farm in the world
  • The Hornsea Wind Farm under construction in the United Kingdom will become the largest when completed, at 1,200 MW.
  • Other projects are in the planning stage, including Dogger Bank in the United Kingdom at 4.8 GW, and Greater Changhua in Taiwan at 2.4 GW.

What are the advantages of offshore wind energy?

  • Offshore wind energy is renewable, clean unlimited and non-polluting
  • There are more wind resources offshore than onshore (up to twice as much as in a medium onshore wind farm).
  • Offshore wind farms create minimal visual and acoustic impact is very small, meaning much larger areas can be developed. This means offshore wind farms typically have several hundred megawatts of installed capacity (far greater than their onshore counterparts)
  • Maritime transport has relatively few limitations in terms of care and dimensions compared to land transportation, making it possible for offshore wind turbines to reach much larger unit capacities and sizes than onshore wind turbines.

Originally published at https://www.linkedin.com.

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