The Importance of Offshore and Onshore Wind Energy
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The Importance of Offshore and Onshore Wind Energy

By Laura Davis, Energy CIO Insights | Wednesday, January 06, 2021

In the energy system of tomorrow, offshore and onshore wind energy will make a major contribution.

FREMONT, CA: Wind farms can be built both onshore and offshore to harvest wind energy and create sustainable electricity. The difference between the locations comes with different merits and drawbacks. In the past few years, increasing constructions of onshore and offshore wind farms resulted in more discussions. What are onshore and offshore wind energy, and what comes with them? Read on to know more.

Onshore wind turbines are turbines erected on the land. The first onshore wind turbine built to create electricity dates back to the 19th century. The wind turbines used for onshore operation span from all sizes of horizontal axis wind turbines. The power of onshore wind turbines range from 4.8 MW— the world's largest onshore horizontal axis wind turbine— to as small as 10 W. Depending on the type of wind turbines in question, onshore wind turbines can be installed individually on fields, mountain tops, coastal areas, or even the backyard of a house. They can be grouped to form a wind farm that offers larger, collective power output. Modern onshore wind farms utilizing large horizontal axis wind turbines can comprise thousands of turbines.

Offshore wind energy is used to generate electrical power. Offshore wind turbines are the largest, most powerful horizontal axis wind turbines, built directly in the oceans and far away from the coast. With several hundreds of them, offshore wind farms can generate hundreds of megawatts. The created electrical power is transferred over large distances to land, where it can be used. Vertical axis wind turbines can be deployed in an offshore environment.

Because of their locations' completely different nature, onshore and offshore wind energy have merits and disadvantages. The merits and demerits of onshore and offshore wind energy can be discussed from four perspectives: cost, location limitation, environmental impact, and capacity factor. Presently, most offshore wind farms worldwide are in the North Sea and Baltic Sea, scatter along the Chinese coast, and pretty much surround England.

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