The world of wind power holds exciting opportunities for the energy transition. Wind power is a popular sustainable renewable energy source. Historically, wind power has been harnessed by ships using their sails, windmills that milled grain and windpumps used to pump water out of soil. Windfarms consist of many individual turbines connected to an electric power transmission network which in turn transfers the energy into an electrical substation.
Onshore wind farms have a greater visual impact on the landscape than some other power stations and small onshore wind farms can feed some energy into the grid or provide power to isolated off-grid locations. There are two types of wind turbines: the horizontal axis, which is the classic three blade turbine pivoting at the top of the tower so that the blades face the wind; and vertical axis turbines which come in several varieties and they are omnidirectional, meaning they don’t need to be adjusted to point to the wind direction to operate.
With wind energy’s many benefits, such as being a clean source that cannot be depleted, as well as being one of the lowest-priced renewable energy sources and its ability to be installed anywhere, we delve deeper into the top 5 facts you did not know about wind energy:
1) Offshore Wind mills are large and getting larger
In order to have the ability to capture the abundant wind resources available offshore, offshore turbines can be scaled up to over 200 meters tall and their blades going up to 107 meters long. The wind turbine components of these and similar sizes are transported by ships and barges, which reduces some of the logistical challenges that can be encountered in land-based wind, such as narrow roadways, tunnels and buildings around the road. The large components and turbines enable developers to produce more electricity.
2) Offshore Wind Farms Use Undersea Cables
Electricity produced by offshore wind turbines travels back to land through a series of cable systems that are buried under the sea floor. This electricity is channelled through coastal load centres that prioritize where the electricity should go and distributes it into the electrical grid to power people’s needs. If you are interested in learning more about high voltage offshore cables, repairs, testing and assets, you should have a look at our sister company: V&SH Offshore.
3) Offshore Wind Resources Are in Deep Waters and Float
The majority of offshore wind resources are in deep waters. This is due to the fact that winds further into the sea are stronger, and there is no visual landscape pollution. The water is so deep that conventional large steel pipe foundations or lattice structures fixed to the seabed are not practical. That is why, many wind projects are developing a variety of different foundations suited to the unique conditions of each site. A number of companies are investing in innovative floating offshore wind platforms. There are multiple types, such as spar-buoy, tension leg platforms, semi-submerse and barge. Around 80% of projects use semi-subversive platforms.
4) An Ever Growing Market
The market of renewable energies has been attracting more and more attention. As technology improves and it becomes cheaper, safer and more profitable to invest in wind energy, more companies and governments are turning their heads towards this drive of the energy transition.
As Europe’s biggest gas supplier Russia is being cut out of the picture due to the ongoing invasion of Ukraine, Europe is investing more in sustainable energy sources that will help the continent build its independence. The declining cost of wind and a growing sensitivity towards environmental issues also help push Europe’s governments to invest in wind. Germany and the UK are leading the this energy transition shift. Europe now has 236 GW of wind capacity and is expected to install 116 GW of new wind farms until 2026.
Less than half of sub-Saharan Africa has access to electricity, causing a strain on economic growth and social inclusion. Wind energy is quick to install, scale and is a catalyst for large scale foreign investment and industrialisation of the continent. The technology will help reach Sustainable Development Goal 7 and insure everyone have access to affordable and clean energy. Global Wind Energy Council’s director of market intelligence Karin Ohlenforst believes that “Wind energy offers the opportunity of a scalable, cost-competitive and sustainable source of energy to increase electricity capacity while providing new local jobs and investments”.
To see how WTS Energy is investing in renewable energy electrification and creating new job opportunities with its training centres in Kanya, please refer to Lighthouse.
5) Job Opportunities with the Wind Energy Industry
According to the Global Wind Energy Council, expansion of the wind energy industry could create 3.3 million jobs in the next five years. Other than the direct roles involved in onshore and offshore, jobs are created across the sector’s value chain which comprise of jobs such as installation, manufacturing, project planning and development, operation and maintenance and decommissioning. These additional jobs could power up additional 470 gigawatts of energy capacity until the year 2025. Are you looking for your next job in Renewables? See our open vacancies!
How interesting is all this? At WTS Energy, our mission is to offer meaningful work around the world and help to protect the environment during the Energy Transition. Don’t be afraid to contact us for your staffing and project needs.