What's The Difference Between OffShore and OnShore Wind Energy?

The wind is an excellent source of energy, but getting energy from the wind is by no means a new idea. Since ancient times, people have been using wind power. 

But now, the utilization of wind energy is increasing.

Offshore and onshore wind farms are important to the goal of having a carbon-neutral electrical system. These range from the many visible wind turbines across the countryside to the larger operations off our coasts.

In this post, we'll talk about the differences between offshore wind energy and onshore wind energy.


Key Takeaways About Offshore and Onshore Wind Farms:

  • Wind is an excellent source of energy, and the utilization of wind energy is increasing.
  • Offshore and Onshore wind farms are an important piece of renewable energy sources that can help lessen our dependence on fossil fuels.
  • Onshore wind power refers to wind turbines constructed and situated on land.
  • Offshore wind power refers to wind farms built on shallow bodies of water, usually in the ocean.
  • STEVENS builds power systems and facilities for the wind energy generation industry. We are equipped to work with companies in all power and energy sectors, including wind energy.


Table Of Contents


How does wind power work?

Wind power plants use turbines to generate electricity from wind energy.

The blades on the turbines are attached to a motor which uses the motion of the blades created by the wind to create electricity.

The electricity created is sent to a gearbox, and the gearbox converts the slow spinning of the blades into a fast rotating motion.

That turns a drive shaft fast enough to power an electrical generator.

In the past, onshore wind turbines were the most popular.

However, as technology has improved in recent years, offshore wind farms in deep waters have been created.


What's Onshore Wind Energy?

Onshore wind power refers to wind turbines constructed and situated on land rather than water.

They are often found in locations with low population density and conservation value.


The Pros of Onshore Wind Farms


Onshore wind turbines are cheaper than offshore turbines.

They are one of the cheapest ways to get renewable energy, along with nuclear and solar power.

The costs related to infrastructure and maintenance for onshore wind farms are much lower than for offshore wind projects.

They sometimes cost half as much as the wind projects that create offshore energy.

Investments in onshore wind farms will pay off in as little as two years, all the while creating cost-efficient power for consumers.


Boosts Local Economy

Energy companies consider how their wind farms will benefit local economies when they are determining the best areas to construct their farms.

The economic value can be measured by how much money the onshore farms and local landowners make and how many jobs are created for people in the area.


Quicker Installation

The installation of onshore wind farms is cheaper and takes less time.

Onshore wind farms can be built and ready for business in a matter of months, while other sustainable energy projects can take a while to develop and be constructed.


What's Offshore Wind Energy?

Offshore wind farms are built over shallow open bodies of water, usually in the ocean.

The wind speeds in these areas area are greater, and the farms can get the most power from the wind.

The term "offshore wind" can also be used to describe offshore wind turbines in lakes and fjords.

Most offshore wind farms have wind turbines fixed to the ground in shallow water. But as offshore technology improves, wind farms will be able to be built in deeper waters.


The Pros of Offshore Wind Farms

Generates More Energy

Onshore wind turbines generate an average of 1MW less power than offshore farms.

Offshore wind farms have larger turbines than onshore turbines, which are limited to a certain height. This means that more energy can be captured.

Offshore wind speeds are almost always higher than land speeds.

That means more energy can be produced at sea than on land.


More Efficient

Offshore wind farms are thought to be more effective at making energy than onshore ones.

Offshore farms can make equal amounts of energy as onshore farms with fewer turbines.

This is because winds at sea are stronger and blow in the same direction more often than winds on land.


Less Intrusive

Offshore wind farms also have fewer environmental impacts than their onshore counterparts because they are out at sea.

There aren't any buildings or other obstacles that can get in the way of offshore wind farms.

They also don't affect how towns use their land or create noise pollution.

You can build bigger offshore wind farms per square mile than onshore ones because there are fewer obstacles, and they have less of an effect on the environment.


Similarities Between Onshore and Offshore Wind Power

Onshore and offshore wind turbines have their differences, but they work by the same mechanical principles.

All wind turbines have rotor blades that spin around a horizontal hub.

They all have a gearbox and a generator.

When the wind hits the blades and spins them, kinetic energy is sent to the gearbox.

Now the gearbox speeds up the rotation of the blades so it can power the generator.

The generator turns the rotational energy into electricity.

And finally, the power is sent to the grid to be used by consumers.

All wind turbines are built with pretty much the same materials no matter where they are constructed.

If offshore and onshore turbines were the same size and the winds were the same speed, then they would both generate the same amount of power.


Differences Between Onshore and Offshore Wind Power

Even though the materials and mechanics of onshore and offshore wind turbines are similar, they have some big differences.

Where the wind farms are located is the most obvious difference between the two types of farms.

In fact, most of the differences between land and sea turbines and how they are built come from the vast differences in geography and geology between the two.

Setting up onshore wind farms is much cheaper than offshore farms.

To build an offshore wind farm, you will need platforms, underwater cables, interconnection, and additional safety features.

This all adds to the installation cost.

Also, maintenance on offshore farms has to be done by helicopters and boats that can go out into the ocean, which is more expensive than land-based options.

However, onshore wind power isn't as dependable or predictable as offshore wind power.

Before land is bought or rented for the construction of a wind farm to make clean energy, the terrain and wind currents that the terrain is exposed to must be carefully studied.

That in itself can cause problems and add additional costs.

You also need available land.

With the world's population growing exponentially and more land being used for housing and farming, land comes at a premium when it comes to locating areas to set up wind farms.

There's plenty of space available in the ocean, and offshore farms have fewer difficulties with wind power and availability.

This allows them to make more reliable and efficient power.


The Future Of Wind WITH STEVENS 

Overall, wind turbines are easy to set up, whether they are on land or at sea. This is especially true when compared to other energy sources.

As long as the wind keeps blowing, wind energy will continue to be an essential energy source and a critical part of energy conversation.

Researchers expect onshore and offshore wind technology to improve in significant ways in the coming years and decades.

STEVENS builds power systems and facilities for the wind energy generation industry.

With decades of combined experience serving clients of all types and sizes, our expert crews have the knowledge and skills to meet energy-sector projects' demands.

We are equipped to work with companies in all power and energy sectors, including offshore and onshore wind energy.

Click on the button below to see how we can help you with your renewable energy construction project.



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About The Author


I'm Ben Sparhawk, the Content Writer and Marketing Account Manager for the esteemed STEVENS company. As someone passionate about crafting captivating content, I take great pride in creating pieces that highlight STEVENS' capabilities and communicate the depth and breadth of their outstanding work.

In my role, I'm constantly striving to develop messaging that resonates with our clients and effectively showcases the exceptional work that we do here at STEVENS. I believe that communication is the key to success, and I work tirelessly to ensure our marketing efforts are engaging and informative.

When I'm not working, I often spend time with my three wonderful children. Becoming a dad is one of the best things that has happened to me, and I love every moment I get to spend with my wife and kids. You can also find me in the gym, trying to better myself, and I also enjoy spending time outdoors hiking or checking out local parks.