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Exploring the depths: Onshore versus Offshore wind energy

4C Offshore | Chloe Emanuel
By: Chloe Emanuel 27/11/2023 National Grid

As the world takes strides toward a carbon-free future, the conversation around wind energy takes centre stage. The distinction between onshore and offshore wind power emerges as a pivotal factor in this transition.

Onshore Wind Energy

Harnessing the natural movement of air on land, onshore wind energy has been a stalwart in the renewable energy arena since the 1880's. The landscapes adorned with wind turbines in less populated regions underscore its prevalence, with over 1,500 operational wind farms across Great Britain alone.

Onshore wind energy boasts reduced environmental impact, cost-effectiveness, quicker installation and maintenance, and potential for job creation. However, challenges include fluctuating wind speeds, intermittent generation, and concerns about visual impact and environmental effects.

Offshore Wind Energy

Contrasting with its onshore counterpart, offshore wind energy capitalizes on the sea's vast potential. With the UK leading the charge, nearly 2,200 turbines across 35 offshore wind farms contributed significantly to the country's electricity needs.

Offshore wind energy offers enhanced efficiency, reduced local environmental impact, and ample space for expansion. However, it comes with higher construction and maintenance costs, challenges in maintenance and repairs, and less localized ownership and involvement.

Pioneering the Future

The launch of the Hornsea Phase 2 offshore wind farm, one of the world's largest offshore wind farms, exemplifies the industry's leap forward. However, the roadmap to a sustainable future hinges on innovation:

Multi-purpose Interconnectors: Revolutionizing energy transmission by enabling clusters of offshore wind farms to connect seamlessly, facilitating cross-border energy sharing.

Floating Wind Farms: Introducing a new paradigm by enabling wind farms in deeper sea areas, accommodating larger turbines for increased power generation.

Energy Islands: Serving as advanced hubs, these islands will interconnect offshore wind energy across nations while spearheading green hydrogen production.

Future Outlook

The UK's ambitious target to triple offshore wind capacity by 2030 underscores the nation's commitment to renewable energy. As demand soars, innovation in offshore wind infrastructure emerges as a key enabler in the pursuit of a sustainable, green-powered tomorrow.

For more information about offshore wind farm projects across the globe, click here.


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