As of 2021, there are over 200 offshore wind farms operating worldwide. These wind farms are located in various countries, including the United Kingdom, Germany, China, Denmark, and the Netherlands. Offshore wind farms harness the power of wind to generate clean and renewable energy, contributing to the global transition towards sustainable sources of electricity. With advancements in technology and increasing investments in renewable energy, the number of offshore wind farms is expected to grow significantly in the coming years, playing a crucial role in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and combating climate change.
How many offshore wind farms are there in the world?
WIND FARM UPDATE: UK Leads in Offshore Wind Market
The offshore wind industry has seen significant growth worldwide, with 162 wind farms now generating electricity. Among these, the United Kingdom stands out as the largest offshore wind market, boasting a total capacity of 104 GW. Last year, the UK witnessed the commissioning of the Hornsea One wind farm, currently the world’s largest operational offshore wind farm, with a capacity of 12 GW.
Germany follows closely behind with a total operational capacity of 77 GW, while China has rapidly emerged as a major player with 71 GW. Notably, China alone added over 2 GW of new offshore wind capacity in 2020. In contrast, Germany only connected 219 MW to the grid last year, with no new projects currently in progress. As a result, China is poised to surpass Germany and claim the third spot in the global offshore wind market.
This update highlights the dynamic landscape of offshore wind energy, with the UK leading the way and China making significant strides. The growth in offshore wind capacity underscores the importance of renewable energy sources in meeting global electricity demands while reducing carbon emissions.
Why is offshore wind more expensive?
Offshore wind farms are more costly to construct due to the need for complex infrastructure. Additionally, the maintenance of these farms is more challenging due to higher wind speeds, strong seas, and accessibility issues. Unlike onshore wind turbines, offshore turbines require a significant investment and are typically owned by corporations. However, they do provide employment opportunities during the development and operation of the wind farm.
The Hornsea Phase 2 offshore wind farm, set to be operational in 2022, will be the largest in the world. With 165 8MW wind turbines, it will generate 13GW of green energy, enough to power 14 million homes.
How much offshore wind is there?
Companies are actively pursuing offshore wind projects, both existing and newly available ones. The Biden administration has opened up vast areas of federal waters for offshore wind development. In February, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) sold leases for six offshore wind areas near New York and New Jersey, covering 488,000 acres. These areas are expected to support approximately 56 gigawatts of offshore wind development. Additionally, BOEM held the first-ever auction for the Pacific region in early December, awarding offshore wind rights for five lease areas near Northern and Central California. The winning bidders spent a total of $757 million to lease the tracts, which span 373,000 acres and could provide 45 gigawatts of renewable generation capacity. This capacity is crucial for California to achieve its goal of 100 percent zero-carbon electricity by 2045.
Unlike projects on the East Coast, which use fixed-bottom foundations, most projects on the West Coast will require floating turbines. This is due to the steep drop in the outer continental shelf along the Pacific seaboard, reaching depths of 3,280 feet or more. Developers will need to utilize floating platforms and other buoyant technologies to generate wind power in these deeper waters. The recent lease sale in California is evidence of the growing momentum in the industry, particularly for floating offshore wind development. Interior Secretary Deb Haaland stated that the Biden administration aims to deploy 15 gigawatts of floating offshore wind capacity by 2035, while California has set targets for building 25 gigawatts of floating wind projects by 2045.
Currently, there is limited offshore floating wind capacity globally, with only about 121 megawatts operating in 2021, mostly in Europe. Therefore, it is not surprising that major European developers dominated the California auction. Norwegian energy giant Equinor, one of the winning bidders, already has floating offshore wind projects in Scotland and Norway. However, efforts are being made in California to ensure that local communities are prepared to participate in the economic opportunities these projects will bring. Environmental groups are partnering with state policymakers, port operators, and labor union leaders to develop job training programs for the nation’s first floating offshore wind farms.
The complexity of these projects requires a high level of skill, according to Eddie Ahn, the executive director of Brightline Defense, a nonprofit organization based in San Francisco. Ahn emphasized the importance of equitable economic development as this technology is deployed. He mentioned ongoing discussions with state government agencies, local community groups, and the Port of Humboldt’s leaders to explore workforce opportunities in the area. California recently approved a $105 million grant to renovate the port, supporting offshore wind activities such as building and staging floating wind foundations and handling large cargo vessels. Ahn stressed the significance of ensuring that these job opportunities benefit local underemployed and unemployed communities.
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Who owns the most wind farms?
During the early stages of the wind power industry, citizen investors in Denmark, the Netherlands, and Germany were the driving force behind project development. However, in recent years, the landscape has shifted, and now utilities, independent power producers (IPPs), and commercial and industrial enterprises are leading the way in wind farm development globally. This trend is evident in the top 15 wind farm owner-operators, who collectively hold over one-third of the total 650 GW of onshore and offshore assets worldwide.
China, being the largest wind market, has a significant presence in the top 15 ranking of wind asset owners. Chinese utilities dominate this ranking, with most of their assets located in the Asia Pacific region. These Chinese asset owners account for over 60% of total wind assets in China and more than 145 GW of capacity, which is over one-fifth of the global wind capacity. The remaining top asset owners are active globally, with six headquartered in Europe and two in the US.
A similar trend can be observed in the offshore sector, where the top 10 offshore asset owners hold over half of the global offshore wind capacity. Europe and China are the primary players in this market, with Orsted leading as the world’s number one offshore wind operator, owning 367 GW of offshore wind capacity across Europe, Asia Pacific, and North America.
The diversification of ownership and investors in wind assets is driven by common factors such as stable investment with predictable returns over a long period, typically twenty years or more, and a relatively low-risk profile. As the costs of wind power have significantly decreased in the past decade and technology innovation has opened up new opportunities, leading wind farm owner-operators have adapted their strategies to maximize revenue while minimizing risk.
In line with the consolidation trends seen in wind original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), asset owners have also engaged in mergers and acquisitions (M&A) activities to expand their wind power portfolios and capabilities. In the offshore sector, there is a trend of utilities joining forces to build and operate offshore projects, managing the increasing size and complexity of such projects and reducing risk.
Wind power owner-operators are also exploring various strategies to generate more capital from their assets and portfolios. These strategies include offering corporate power purchase agreements (PPAs), seeking opportunities with hybrid or colocated projects, providing additional services like asset management and optimization, and diversifying their technology offerings.
Utilities and asset owners view wind power as a promising and stable long-term investment, leading traditional energy companies to spin off renewables businesses and focus on these assets. European utilities, in particular, are actively seeking new opportunities to build their portfolios in emerging markets.
As the energy transition progresses, new solutions and opportunities in the wind power sector continue to evolve, providing asset owners and investors with diverse avenues to generate revenue and manage risks in their portfolios.
Please note that the full database and analysis of the updated Global Wind Asset Owners Database are exclusively available to GWEC Members and subscribers to GWEC Market Intelligence. GWEC Market Intelligence offers insights, data analysis, market outlooks, country profiles, policy updates, and offshore market insights, derived from comprehensive databases, local knowledge, and industry experts. To learn more about GWEC Market Intelligence services and membership benefits, please contact Deny Tenenblat at [email protected].
What is the biggest wind farm in the world?
The Jiuquan Wind Power Base, also known as Gansu Wind Farm, has held the title of the world’s largest wind farm since its completion in November 2010. Located in Gansu, China, the farm consists of 7,000 wind turbines spread across Inner Mongolia, Jiuquan, Jiangsu, Shandong, Hebei, and Xinjiang Provinces. As of 2021, the farm has a capacity of 10GW, which is expected to reach 20GW upon completion.
In the UK, the Dogger Bank Wind Farm is currently under construction and is set to become the world’s largest offshore wind farm by 2026. It will consist of three phases, each with a capacity of 12GW. The wind farm will feature 277 of GE’s Haliade-X turbines, making it one of the most powerful offshore wind farms in the world. Equinor and SSE Renewables are also exploring the possibility of adding a fourth phase to the project.
India is home to the Jaisalmer Wind Park, the largest wind farm in the country and one of the largest globally. Developed by Suzlon Energy, the park has a capacity of 1600MW and is located in the Jaisalmer district of Rajasthan. It encompasses a range of turbines, from older 350 kW models to the latest S9X 21 MW series.
In the US, MidAmerican Energy has proposed the Wind Prime project to the Iowa Utilities Board. If approved, it will be a $3.9 billion project consisting of wind and solar farms, generating 2042 MW of energy from wind and an additional 50 MW from solar. This would make it the largest wind farm in the US upon completion.
The Alta Wind Energy Center in California is the third-largest onshore wind energy project globally and the largest in the US. Owned by TerraGen Power, it has an installed capacity of 1548 MW and comprises 600 GE Renewable Energy turbines. The first phase of the project was completed in April 2011.
Hornsea 2, an offshore wind farm located off the Yorkshire Coast in the UK, is set to be fully operational in the summer of 2022. With a capacity of 1.3GW, it consists of 165 Siemens Gamesa wind turbines. Together with its sibling, Hornsea 1, the two wind farms can power 25 million homes. The blades of the turbines measure 81 meters, and one revolution can power an average UK home for 24 hours.
The Muppandal Wind Farm in India is the largest offshore wind farm in the country, with a capacity of 1500MW. It is located in the Kanyakumari district of Tamil Nadu and features turbines from various private players. Many of the turbines are running past their expected lifecycle, and discussions are underway regarding decommissioning or replacement.
The MacIntyre complex in Australia, operated by ACCIONA Energía, will become the largest wind farm in the country upon completion in 2024. It will have a total capacity of 1026MW and consist of two wind farms, MacIntyre and Karara. The wind farms will utilize 180 Nordex Delta 4000 turbines, generating clean electricity for nearly 700,000 homes and reducing CO2 emissions by three million tonnes annually.
Greater Changhua 1 & 2a, located off the coast of Taiwan, is the largest farshore wind farm in the country, with a capacity of 900MW. It became operational in August 2022 and can provide clean energy to one million households.
China is planning to build the world’s largest wind farm in the Taiwan Strait, off the coast of Chaozhou in Guangdong province. Spanning ten kilometers, the farm will feature thousands of powerful turbines with a total capacity of 433 gigawatts, enough to power a small European country. Due to its windy location, the turbines are expected to operate between 43% and 49% of the time. Construction is set to begin before 2025, surpassing the current largest wind farm, the Jiuquan Wind Power Base in China.
In conclusion, wind power has emerged as a significant player in the global energy sector, with offshore wind farms playing a crucial role in harnessing this renewable resource. As winddata-inc.com, we have provided valuable insights into the biggest wind farm in the world, the ownership of wind farms, and the reasons behind the higher costs associated with offshore wind.
The Hornsea One Offshore Wind Farm, located off the coast of Yorkshire, UK, currently holds the title for the largest wind farm globally. With a capacity of 1.2 gigawatts, this massive project is a testament to the potential of offshore wind energy. As winddata-inc.com, we have extensively covered the development and progress of this groundbreaking wind farm, providing our readers with up-to-date information and analysis.
When it comes to ownership, winddata-inc.com has closely monitored the industry’s key players. Currently, the Danish energy company Ørsted holds the distinction of owning the most wind farms globally. With a strong focus on renewable energy, Ørsted has made significant investments in offshore wind projects, solidifying its position as a leader in the industry. Our comprehensive coverage of Ørsted’s activities and other major players in the wind power sector has allowed our readers to stay informed about the latest developments and trends.
One of the main challenges faced by offshore wind farms is the higher cost compared to onshore wind projects. As winddata-inc.com, we have explored the reasons behind this disparity. Factors such as the complex installation process, the need for specialized equipment, and the higher maintenance costs associated with offshore wind farms contribute to the increased expenses. However, it is important to note that advancements in technology and economies of scale are gradually reducing the cost gap between offshore and onshore wind projects. As the industry continues to evolve, winddata-inc.com remains committed to providing accurate and insightful analysis on the cost dynamics of offshore wind energy.
In conclusion, winddata-inc.com is dedicated to providing comprehensive coverage of the wind power industry, including the largest wind farms, ownership trends, and the factors influencing the cost of offshore wind. With our expertise and commitment to delivering reliable information, we aim to empower our readers and contribute to the growth and development of the renewable energy sector.
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