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Wind Energy Generation

The use of Wind Energy dates back to almost 2,000 years ago, when very simplistic Wind-Powered tools evolved in the next centuries into the first horizontal-axis Wind-Powered mills.

At the turn of the 18th century, however, another form of energy was harnessed, forever changing life as we know it – Electricity. As a result, Wind Mills were redesigned as Wind Turbine generators and, in doing so, Wind Power became the mechanism for generating electricity.

Fast forward to the 21st century, and modern Wind Turbines now consist of three basic elements:

A modern wind turbine can be split up into three basic elements:

  • Foundation and Tower - For rigid positioning, and to elevate the Turbine
  • Nacelle - For housing the Yaw System, the Drive Chain, and Electrical Cabinets
  • Rotor - Contains the Rotor Hub, and the Blades

Key Considerations for Onshore Wind Energy Generation vs. Offshore Wind Energy Generation

  • Foundation Techniques
    Onshore Wind foundations rely on concrete-based conical bases, anchored with multiple piles into the ground. Offshore wind foundations, however, use fixed bottom foundations, such as monopile systems up to 30 meters water depth and jackets up to 50 meters. Beyond this depth, floating foundations are used, allowing very flexible positioning of the turbines.
  • Installation Techniques
    Due to the accessibility of Onshore construction sites, standard lifting equipment is available, and power lines to end users are often within reach. Offshore installation projects, however, can be costly as a result of offshore cranes, long power lines, offshore weather conditions, and the need for specialized vessels.
  • Nameplate Capacities
    Where Onshore Wind Turbines are usually limited to 5 MW, Offshore Wind Turbines are capable of reaching 14 MW power ratings. Due to costs, that are less-than-linear with power ratings, large turbines often have lower electricity generation costs.
  • Capacity Factors
    With more wind readily available to keep turbines spinning, Offshore Wind Turbines have a higher capacity factor. An example of this utilization factor - actual power generated vs. theoretical maximum - is the EU Capacity Factor in 2019, where Onshore Wind was 24%, and Offshore Wind was 38%.

The final result of all of the key considerations listed above?

The LCoE (Levelized Cost of Energy) of Onshore Wind Energy is at the moment still lower than Offshore Wind Energy. We anticipate, however, that due to increasing scale & further maturization of industry, the LCoE will reduce further in coming years, allowing Offshore Wind Energy to compete at highest level.

Video - MCAM Solutions for Wind Energy Generation

Interested in learning more?

Discover how Mitsubishi Chemical Advanced Materials can provide a wide range of material solutions, for all areas of Foundation and Tower Installations, Nacelles, and Wind Turbines. 

Foundation and Tower - Installation

Nacelle - System and Components

Rotor - Bearings and Components