On-Shore v/s Off-Shore Wind Farms

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Wind energy is one of the most practical source of electricity generation as it keeps blowing all around. Wind power is one of the fastest growing renewable energy technologies after solar energy. It is being utilised worldwide due to its rise in affordability. Getting better in price and raising the capacity to generate necessary power are the key points driving the wind power to gain more popularity. If we talk about the global installed wind generation capacity it has increased by a factor of almost 75 in the past two decades, jumping from 7.5 Giga watts (GW) in 1997 to some 564 GW by 2018, according to IRENA’s (International Renewable Energy Agency) latest data.

What is Wind Farms?

To harness the wind’s power in to electricity one wind turbine can generate energy up to certain extent. Wind farms or Wind Park, also termed as Wind Power Station or Wind Power Plant, is a group of wind turbines in the same location used to produce electricity. Wind farms vary in size from a small number of turbines to several hundred wind turbines covering an extensive area. Wind farms can be either onshore or offshore.

Since they require no fuel, wind farms have less impact on the environment than many other forms of power generation. Wind farms have, however, been criticised for their visual impact and impact on the landscape. Typically they need to be spread over more land than other power stations and need to be built in wild and rural areas, which can lead to “industrialization of the countryside”, habitat loss, and a drop in tourism.

Onshore Wind Farms

Onshore wind energy refers to turbines installed on land rather than on water. They are commonly found in low-population areas with low conservation value. According to the International Energy Association, onshore wind power increased by 12% in 2019. Capacity additions also increased by 22% after several years of outages.

Advantages of Onshore Wind farms

• Less Expensive

• Shorter cables for energy transmission

• Quick installation

• Low impact on surroundings

Disadvantages of Onshore Wind Farms

• Varying with speeds

• Potential wind blockages

• Visual and sound factors

Offshore Wind Farms

Offshore wind energy refers to wind farms in the shallow open ocean, usually at sea, where the wind speed is high. The term “offshore wind” can also refer to coastal waters such as lakes and fjords. Most offshore wind farms use solid foundation wind turbines in shallow water. But as technology advances, deeper floating wind farms can be built. According to the Global Wind Energy Association, offshore wind power will increase to more than 234 GW by 2030, especially in the Asia-Pacific region.

Advantages of Offshore Wind Farms

• More wind consistency

• More energy generation

• Less visual impact

• Big in size

Disadvantages of Offshore Wind Farms

• High installation cost

• Heavy maintenance & repairs

• Impact of noise on marine life

• Generates less jobs compared to Onshore farms

Conclusion

Coastal area around the globe has the capacity to fulfill the need of electricity in current scenario. But, as we are heading towards the research it shows the consequences as well. It all depends on the materials used in the construction of a turbine later how long will it generate energy for us? And most the important, will it be cost effective in all factors considered?

It depends on our engineers and scientists who are developing this technology. It is up to us whether we accept the better technology in the right time or not.

– By Parag Ahire

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