Offshore wind energy is one of the major sources of renewable energy sources that are estimated to have a significant potential for power generation. As many countries speed up their efforts to accelerate their shift to renewable energy, the global installed capacity of the offshore wind is expected to grow significantly in the coming years.
The global wind power capacity increased from 115.3GW in 2008 to 513.5GW in 2017, according to a report by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA). In the same period, offshore wind energy went up to 18.7GW from 1.4GW. Advancements in offshore wind turbine technology are one of the important contributors to the rise in global offshore wind power capacity in recent years.
With an installed capacity of 6.9GW, the UK tops the list of offshore wind energy producing countries. Possessing ideal locations for wind power generation, the UK is one of the leading producers of offshore wind power in the world. The 659MW Walney Extension, the 630MW London Array, the 576MW Gwynt y Môr and the 573MW Race Bank are the biggest offshore wind farms in the UK. Walney Extension generates enough clean electricity to power more than 460,000 UK homes. It is also regarded as the world’s largest operational offshore wind farm. Covering an area of 145km2 in the Irish Sea, the wind farm features 87 turbines including 40 units of MHI-Vestas 8.25MW turbines and 47 units of Siemens Gamesa 7MW turbines.
The European nation witnessed a significant increase in its offshore wind capacity in the past four years. Germany’s offshore wind energy capacity increased from 994MW in 2014 to 5.4GW in 2017, according to the IRENA report. The country is home to some of the biggest offshore wind farms in the world. Gode Wind 1 & 2, Veja Mate, BARD Offshore 1, Global Tech I, Arkona Wind Park, and Wikinger are the major offshore wind farms in the country. Arkona Wind Park and Wikinger were commissioned in 2018. With a capacity of 582MW, Gode Wind 1 & 2 offshore wind farms generate enough electricity to meet the power needs of about 600,000 German households per year. Germany is also one of the leading onshore wind energy producers in the world.
With an installed offshore wind capacity of 2.6GW, Chine occupies third spot in the list of top offshore wind power producers in the world. The country’s major offshore wind farms include, Huaneng Rudong, Xiangshui demonstration, Rudong, Longyuan Rudong Intertidal, Donghai Bridge and Shanghai Lingang Demonstration – 2. Located near Zhuhai in Guangdong province, China, the Guishan Offshore Windfarm is a 198MW that saw the start of its construction in 2016. By March 2018, the offshore wind project witnessed the completion of 75% of its construction, according to a China Daily report. With an installed capacity of 161.4GW in 2017, China is also the top producer of onshore wind energy in the world.
The country’s offshore wind energy capacity stood at 1.2GW in 2017. Anholt, Horns Rev II, Rødsand II, Nysted and Horns Rev I are the major offshore wind farms in Denmark. Officially inaugurated in September 2013, the 400MW Anholt offshore wind consists of 111 Siemens wind turbines, each with a rated capacity of 3.6MW. The wind farm generates CO2-free power that is enough to meet the annual power needs of 400,000 Danish households. The wind farm is also one of world’s largest offshore wind farms in operation.
With an installed capacity of 957MW, the Netherlands is one of the top offshore wind power producing countries. Gemini, Eneco Luchterduinen and Princess Amalia are the major offshore wind farms in the country. Located in the Dutch North Sea, the 600MW Gemini wind farm features 150 turbines supplied by Siemens. It is the largest offshore wind farm in the Netherlands. The wind farm generates enough clean and renewable energy to meet the needs of 1.5 million people in the Netherlands, and reduce the country’s CO2 emissions by 1.25 million tons per year.