14 Pros and Cons of Offshore Wind Farms

In the upcoming ten years, there will be a sharp increase in both onshore and offshore wind. In this article, we find out about the pros and cons of offshore wind farms, how they operate, and how they are used in the global energy market. Both will be crucial to the global energy transition.

Global wind power capacity increased to 743 GW in 2020 from 650 GW in 2019, according to Statista, even if COVID-19 caused project delays. The exponential increase in wind power installations is evidence of its rising global appeal.

Technology advancements and international climate change legislation are driving the financial sustainability of wind generation. The two world’s largest wind power markets are still China and the USA, but India, North America, the UK, and Europe are also rapidly advancing this trend.

Watch this video from the Global Wind Energy Council to get an overview of the wind power market worldwide:

How does wind energy operate?

Air drives the carbon-fiber blades that are fixed to wind turbines. A motor that is attached to the blades converts kinetic energy into electrical energy. The energy is sent to a gearbox, which speeds up the rotational motion from the blades’ slow spinning. Subsequently, this rotates a drive shaft sufficiently to power an electric generator.

The market has historically been dominated by onshore wind turbines, but in recent years, technological advancements have prompted the creation of offshore wind farms.

What are offshore wind farms?

Large-scale wind energy facilities, called offshore wind farms, are situated in the ocean, usually a few kilometers off the coast. They are made up of wind turbines set on foundations that are fixed into the ocean floor. These wind-powered turbines generate electricity, which is transmitted to the mainland via underwater cables.

Pros and Cons of Offshore Wind Farms

Pros of Offshore Wind Farms

  • Strong and Consistent Wind Resources
  • Minimal Impact on The Landscape
  • Reduced Noise Pollution
  • Lesser Land Requirements
  • Bigger Turbines
  • Job Creation and Economic Boost
  • Lower Carbon Emissions

1. Strong and Consistent Wind Resources

Robust and reliable wind resources are advantageous for offshore wind projects. Wind speeds are generally higher in open waters than they are on land. Compared to onshore wind farms, offshore wind farms can generate an average of more than 1 MW of electricity.

Onshore wind farms have height restrictions on their turbines, but offshore wind farms have no height restrictions on their turbines. They can produce more energy since their turbine blades are scaled much larger.

Additionally, offshore wind farms can produce more power due to the higher average wind speeds at sea than on land.

Offshore wind farms are more efficient than other kinds of wind farms because they can produce more electricity. Suppose eleven onshore wind farms produce a given amount of energy.

In an offshore wind farm, four to five wind turbines can provide the same amount of energy, if not more. The more constant direction of the winds at higher speeds at sea is what makes them more effective than on land.

2. Minimal Impact on The Landscape

Offshore wind farms leave less of an environmental trace than their onshore counterparts. Since they are usually situated far from the coast, there is less visual encroachment and more area can be kept for other purposes, including cultivation.

3. Reduced Noise Pollution

One of the main complaints about onshore wind farms is the noise the turbines make. Because offshore wind farms are located far from residential areas, they greatly reduce noise pollution, making the surrounding communities enjoy a more tranquil atmosphere.

4. Lesser Land Requirements

Offshore wind farms are less invasive than onshore wind farms since they are situated in an area inside a lake or sea. The installation of wind turbines does not interfere with any private land used for farming, grazing, or any other purpose.

Offshore wind farms don’t establish barriers or interfere with nearby nations or structures. Since offshore wind farms don’t physically harm the environment, they are constructed across wider regions per square mile.

This implies that they can be put in places where there is a shortage of land or where there are conflicting land uses, like forestry, urbanization, and agriculture.

Land use disputes also dominate disputes over onshore horizontal-axis wind turbines. Onshore farms occupy large areas of public land because there is a persistent belief that they impede agriculture and development.

Offshore wind farms settle this dispute because the ocean has more space. Furthermore, there are fewer worries about land and technology deterioration because of its remote position, which limits harmful human interaction.

5. Bigger Turbines

Since the public can no longer easily access offshore turbines, they are also able to be built taller than onshore ones, increasing their capacity to capture wind energy and generate electricity.

6. Job Creation and Economic Boost

Offshore wind farm development, operation, and maintenance boost the local economy by generating a large number of work possibilities. Furthermore, as the offshore wind business expands, research and development spending may increase, which could result in technological breakthroughs and additional industry expansion.

7. Lower Carbon Emissions

Offshore wind farms contribute to the worldwide effort to prevent climate change by producing electricity without emitting damaging greenhouse gases. An important factor in helping nations meet their carbon reduction targets could be the growth of offshore wind generation.

Cons of Offshore Wind Farms

  • Less Local Involvement
  • Maintenance Challenges
  • More Expensive
  • Impact on Marine Life
  • Bird Mortality
  • Energy Transmission Challenges
  • Visual Impact

1. Less Local Involvement

Let’s start with the drawbacks of offshore wind farms before moving on to the advantages. Unlike onshore wind farms, offshore wind farms are not owned by regional businesses. It becomes more difficult for local firms and groups to contribute when there is greater investment required.

Large corporations are the only ones that own offshore wind farms. Offshore wind farms do not always help a specific local community, even though they do create jobs. They therefore don’t present the same financial prospects as onshore wind farms.

2. Maintenance Challenges

Yes, because of the strong winds, offshore wind turbines are more powerful and capable of producing more energy. Nevertheless, they are more vulnerable to harm from these strong winds. Wind turbines are frequently damaged due to erratic weather patterns and frequent storm damage.

As a result, maintenance and repairs for offshore wind farms are frequently needed. When it comes to upkeep and repairs, the costs are undoubtedly high, and handling offshore wind farms can be a costly undertaking.

In addition, lack of accessibility presents maintenance challenges, even in this case where money is not an issue. Yes, because they are situated far from the coast, maintaining them is difficult, and repairs take longer as a result.

3. More Expensive

It is more difficult to build structures offshore than it is on land. We can do tasks more quickly and easily by using machines and other equipment. However, things get trickier when it comes to moving large gear on water.

Offshore wind farms require significant financial outlays due to their intricate design and installation, particularly in deepwater environments. As a result, they are more costly, but since there is less space available for onshore wind farms, energy corporations are choosing offshore wind farms instead. Let’s now examine the issues surrounding offshore wind farms.

4. Impact on Marine Life

The development of offshore wind farms may have a variety of effects on marine life, and the noise generated during construction and operation may cause disruptions to the facility’s operations.

The disturbance of the seabed by the foundations may affect benthic creatures. On the other hand, with proper planning, observation, and mitigation strategies, these effects can be reduced.

5. Bird Mortality

Additionally, there may be a risk to bird populations from offshore wind farms, especially for migratory species. There could be casualties if birds collide with the turbines. Research is still being done to learn more about these effects and create risk-reduction plans.

6. Energy Transmission Challenges

It can be difficult to transfer electricity produced by offshore wind farms to the mainland, especially when doing so across large distances. It is necessary to have underwater cables, which can be costly and challenging to install. Furthermore, it can be difficult to integrate the electricity into the current system, necessitating infrastructural changes.

7. Visual Impact

Even though offshore wind farms are usually situated far out to sea, they can yet be visually striking. The sight of wind turbines off in the distance could bother or bother some people. But as this is a personal matter, not everyone will find it troubling.


Costs are by far the biggest disadvantage of offshore renewable energy. However, it will only spur humanity to pursue R&D, simplify technology, and advocate for government financing to make technological advancement possible.

The efficiency, which generates more electricity in the water than it would on land, speaks for itself. Water- or floating-based renewables will complement terrestrial wind farms and rooftop solar farms in the future, opening up new opportunities and lowering barriers to the global adoption of sustainable energy.

Furthermore, wind turbines require less time to erect than other energy sources, regardless of their location (onshore or offshore). As long as the wind blows, wind energy will continue to play a significant role in supplying the country’s energy demands, as it already has.

When wind power becomes more popular as a renewable energy source, researchers anticipate major advancements in both onshore and offshore wind technologies.


Editor at EnvironmentGo! | providenceamaechi0@gmail.com | + posts

A passion-driven environmentalist by heart. Lead content writer at EnvironmentGo.
I strive to educate the public about the environment and its problems.
It has always been about nature, we ought to protect not destroy.

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