Onshore or offshore wind power plants
The offshore potential for wind energy is enormous. If offshore wind farms covered just 10 per cent of the North Sea, they could generate electricity equivalent to the total annual consumption of the 27 members of the EU.
Our offshore track record
At Vestas, we focus on reduced energy costs. Since 1995 we have installed more than 580 offshore wind turbines, providing a total capacity of over 1400 MW. As pioneers of offshore installations we’ve brought together our vast wealth of knowledge and expertise into a single offshore energy organisation that handles all our global offshore operations. Our offshore unit delivers superior turbine technology, convenient and cost-effective transport, fast and safe installation, and comprehensive service and maintenance for the benefit of our customers.
So why are offshore wind power solutions so effective?
Offshore areas provide more space – onshore areas are generally limited by space restrictions or by ecological and aesthetic considerations.
Offshore areas provide strong winds, with less turbulence and more predictability – onshore wind is disrupted by hills or buildings, making it more turbulent and less predictable.
What are the challenges of offshore?
Construction - More time, planning and people are required, especially for the foundations and electrical infrastructure. Access is only possible via boat, barge or helicopter.
Operation – Can be affected by weather conditions. In Northern Europe, 10 to 50 per cent of all offshore work-hours are lost due to bad weather.
Grid connection – Currently, there is no existing infrastructure which means that each project has to establish an individual solution for its grid connection. There are plans to establish a ‘super grid’ in the North Sea in the future.
Are offshore wind turbines different?
Offshore wind is typically less turbulent than the wind onshore, but at the same time average and extreme wind speeds are often higher than those on land. Combined with more challenging access conditions, this means that the design and manufacture of offshore wind turbines and foundations have unique requirements. These include corrosion protection, accessibility and safety procedures for service technicians and highly sophisticated monitoring and control systems. At Vestas, we have an extensive range of applications to address these issues, producing robust turbines which require a minimum amount of maintenance.
Many factors which can cause significant challenges for onshore wind power projects also tend to be less problematic offshore – such as proximity to people, noise, visual impact, and the effects on natural and cultural heritage.