What is offshore wind?
Offshore wind energy involves the generation of clean and renewable energy by using the force of wind that is produced at sea to turn a generator which produces electricity. Offshore wind is particularly effective as it reaches a higher and more constant speed than on land due to the absence of barriers such as hills, buildings, etc.
The first offshore wind farm, Vindeby, was built in 1991 off the coast of Denmark. It consisted of 11 small 450kW turbines, each only 35m tall. Since then, wind energy technology has gone from strength to strength. The Outer Dowsing project could use up to 100 turbines, each one up to 403m tall (nearly five times the height of Lincoln Cathedral!) with each turbine producing more than twice as much power as the whole Vindeby wind farm put together!
Modern wind turbines are amazing feats of engineering in their own rights. Often out of sight due to the curvature of the Earth, our seas are the perfect place for generating energy. What’s more, the growing efficiency of turbines and the increasingly cheap price of their parts is driving forward technology and cementing offshore wind as a major international market.
Located in the north west corner of Europe on the edge of the North Atlantic, where six different air masses converge, it’s not a surprise that the UK has truly embraced offshore wind.
What are the advantages of offshore wind energy?
Offshore wind energy is renewable, unlimited and non-polluting.
There are more wind resources offshore than onshore (up to twice as much as in a medium onshore wind farm).
When located offshore, the visual and acoustic impact is very small, so much larger areas can be used. Thanks to this, offshore wind farms typically have many hundred megawatts of installed capacity.
The ease of maritime transport, which has few limitations with regard to cargo and dimensions in comparison with land transportation, has made it possible for offshore wind turbines to reach much larger unit capacities and sizes than onshore wind turbines
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