The Vindeby wind farm in the Baltic Sea off the coast of
Wind power has been the second most successful
source of renewable energy in the developed world (HEP being the most
successful). However, in the past wind power has been limited to only a few
sites for various factors providing little energy. Until now.
Denmark leads the way in the development of
offshore wind farms. In 1997 alone the total wind-power capacity in Denmark
was close to 1,000 MW, Wind power corresponded to more than 6% of total Danish
electricity consumption. However, there are only two 'test' farms
offshore but results from these wind farms is so positive that there is
every indication that offshore wind farms will be the big area of focus in
future. There are now plans for large-scale offshore wind farm development in
The offshore wind industry is expected to play a
considerable part in helping the UK to work towards the Government's target of
10% of electricity supplies from renewable sources.
Windfarms are being built at sea because of the
strong winds and because suitable sites are difficult to find onshore due to
the population density and visual scenic considerations.
The first offshore windfarms were small scale
affairs built by the Danish at Vindeby in the Baltic Sea off the coast of
Lolland and TunÝ Knob in Kattegat between Jutland and TunÝ, both erected in
the early 1990s However, current offshore projects have much higher
establishment costs than those onshore, first and foremost due to the costs of
The first large offshore wind farm in Europe
will be Middelgrunden off the coast of Copenhagen where twenty, 2MW wind
turbines will be erected. Future wind turbines for offshore sites will become
even larger. Wind turbines of sizes up to 5 MW are under development.
Unfortunately, costs for servicing of offshore
turbines may alone approach a factor 10 compared to that for onshore turbines.
There are other problems. The possible impact on wildlife is one important
matter. Large-scale offshore wind-farm development would require thorough
studies of the possibility of significant impact on birds.
But the future for offshore wind farms is good.
Not only is there a need for more renewable energy sources
power from large farms will be similar in price to those
from coal and other power stations (coal $0.04 kwh, wind
$ 0.05 kwh). Wind power seems to be the only existing
source from which large amounts of renewable energy can
be produced. It will not, however, ever play more than
a supporting role in energy generation because of its