Large Scale Wind Farms

By Chris Bradshaw on June 7th, 2011

Not everyone likes wind farms, so is there a future of them? Perhaps the possibility of building them offshore has extended their lifespan.

In the past we generated electricity at the cost of the environment, however nowadays everyone is becoming more and more conscious of mans impact on the environment.

The developed countries in particular are investing heavily in alternative sources of energy. Solar is perhaps the best known form of alternative power, however wind farms are another option.

Although it is possible to use wind turbines on domestic properties, the majority of wind turbines are in use in large scale wind farms which can consist of hundreds of turbines.

Wind power is growing in popularity, new wind farms are being planned each and every year. There are only a few producers of wind turbines, and at the moment the demand is outstripping the supply. Siemens has warned customers that it might take years for orders to be delivered.

Large scale wind farms are not popular with everyone, they are traditionally built on land which means they take up a lot of space. Not only this, but large scale wind farms are noisy.

Getting approval to build wind farms on land is increasingly difficult, the local residents will probably object to the project causing problems. Not only are wind farms noisy, they are thought to be dangerous to birds and bats.

In order to get around this many wind power firms are starting to look at building large scale wind farms offshore. There are of course problems associated with this,  it’s more costly to build at sea for instance. Offshore wind farms are quickly becoming a very promising potential for generating a large amount of clean energy.

Offshore wind farms aren’t just the things of dreams, they are already in operation. There are medium range operations which generate from 4MW to around 100MW, these are mostly located in the North Sea.

Denmark has a 160MW Offshore Wind farm which is currently the largest offshore wind farm in operation. Denmark has been one of the first to adopt wind farms, and has set itself a target of producing at least 4000MW of electricity using offshore wind farms by 2030. Denmark has over 10 wind farms either being planned or in production.

England has also seen the benefits of investing in offshore wind farms. There are a number of small and medium sized wind farms which have been built out at sea along the coast line of the UK. One project known as the London Array Project will have a capacity of at least 1000MW, other proposed projects such as the Arklow Bank wind farm will be constructed 10km off shore in Ireland, it has a proposed capacity of 520MW.

There are a number of American project proposals, there is a proposed 420MW wind farm in Nantucket.

There are many advantages and reasons why offshore wind farms are becoming more and more popular, for a start it’s not necessary to lease any expensive land. Also the noise from the wind turbines are not a major problem, also as the wind turbines are out of sight they are not an eyesore.

Underground and underwater cables mean that people will not be concerned about the overhead transmission lines.

Most of the planet is covered by oceans, which makes offshore large scale wind farms a possible way of the future.

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