The ability to harness energy from winds across oceans, seas and lakes will be super important as we bid our time and scale different sources of renewable energy. Larger offshore wind farms will be capable of generating over a gigawatt of electricity.
Something special about using the breeze of the sea and towering turbines to create clean energy.
These projects require massive planning and timing to build out, but the wait is worth it, since a gigawatt is as much power as is generated by 3.125 million photovoltaic (PV) panels or 333 utility scale wind farms. In the U.S., there are development projects underway for 6 Gigawatts of offshore power by 2029
Global Offshore Wind Development
With 700,000 miles of coastlines across the world and massive gains in wind turbines' power-generating capabilities, offshore wind farms are one of the most powerful levers to switch away from fossil fuels.
The benefits of offshore wind farms include that the wind steadily & powerfully blows out across the seas. These strong winds can be captured and converted to electricity by massive turbines that stand tall above the sea and can even float in deep waters, where anchoring isn't an option.
The electricity generated by wind turbines can then be transmitted via submarine cable that sits on the floor of water bodies. Similar to how fiber optic cable was situated across the seas for Internet traffic over the past two decades, now cables can be situated to transmit power.
Here is a look at some of the biggest, more storied offshore wind farm projects in the world.
Worlds Largest Operational Offshore Wind Farm: Hornsea 2 (United Kingdom)
In North Sea, 55 miles from the Yorkshire coastline
Spans an area of 287 square miles
164 Siemens Gamesa Turbines geneating 8 MW of power
Turbines are 656 feet tall, with 267 feet blades
An estimated 1.3 GW of total capacity
Enough power for 1.4 million homes
A single revolution from one turbine can provide enough power for a UK home
Fully operational as of Summer 2022
Hornsea 2 Wind Farm is part of the massive Hornsea Complex. Prior to the completion of the Hornsea 2 project, the neighboring Hornsea 1 windfarm was the largest operational windfarm in the world. The third phase of the complex, will be even bigger than Hornsea 2. Once Hornsea 3 is completed in 2025, Hornsea will have 5 Gigawatts of capacity, enough power for 5 million UK homes.
Worlds Largest Proposed Offshore Wind Farm: Chaozhou (China)
43.3 Gigawatt windfarm in Taiwan Straight
46 miles from coastline
Will include 1000’s of turbines
Provide enough power for 13 million homes
Construction expected to start in 2025.
Worlds largest floating offshore wind farm: Hywind Tampen (Norway)
60 Megawatts of capaciy
Located 86 miles from shore
Floating atop seas with 1,000 feet water depths
United States HAS The WORLD'S 8th Longest CoastlinE
The US has been a late adopter of offshore wind, and is now in catch up mode with multiple massive offshore wind projects along the east-coast in development, and rights to the first massive floating wind farm, in California, recently auctioned off. Additionally, offshore wind farms will also be built-out in the Great Lakes.
Offshore Wind Farms Along East Coast
The Atlantic Ocean's shallower waters are ideal for offshore wind projects, with the eastern states expected to be the biggest beneficiary of offshore wind projects. Large projects are already in development across the northeast and Mid-Atlantic.
First Floating Offshore Wind Farm In Northern California
The Pacific Ocean's deep water necessitate the buildout of floating offshore wind farms. The first of these wind farms will be in Northern California and will provide 4.6 Gigawatts of power, enough energy for 1.5 million homes.
The Future of Offshore Wind Farms In America
Moving forward, offshore wind is expected to be a major source of energy in the U.S. i.e. in New York State, offshore wind power is expected to be the second largest source of energy by 2040.
"The interest and success of today’s sale represents a significant milestone toward achieving President Biden’s goal of deploying 30 gigawatts of offshore wind energy capacity by 2030 and 15 gigawatts of floating offshore wind capacity by 2035"