Comparing the capabilities of wind farms around the world is an interesting way to get a grasp on all that is involved in the process of harvesting wind. Getting a basic visual on how farms are started, what they are capable of, and some of the logistics of running a wind farm is a great way to know if you can picture yourself working with them. Here’s a glimpse of some of the varieties of the World’s Largest Wind Farms.
World’s Largest Offshore Wind Farm: Hornsea 1
- It is located about 75 miles off the east coast of England in the North Sea, where the closest major city is Yorkshire.
- Wind Turbines: 174
- Total Planned Powering Capability: 1.2 GW
- Powering: 1 million UK homes
- Owners: 50/50
Global Infrastructure Partners
- Project proposal granted in 2010 by Crown Estate:
- Project on shore Start date: 2016
- Offshore start date: 2018
- Started providing power: Feb 2019
- Last turbine installed: Oct 2020
- Project Completion: Jan 2021
- Expected Operating Life: 25 years
- Watch this video about how they laid cables for the Hornsea 1 project.
- Watch this video to see a sample of an off shore wind turbine tech’s schedule.
“Orsted owns another two offshore developments in the area, Hornsea Project Two (under construction) and Hornsea Project Three (proposed), which have a potential capacity of an additional 3GW.” –Power Technology
World’s Largest Onshore Wind Farm: Jiuquan Wind Power Base aka Gansu Wind Farm, China
- Wind Turbines: 7,000
- Current Powering Capability: 10 GW
- Total Planned Powering Capability: 20 GW
- Powering: 1 million homes
- “… 7,000 wind turbines installed across the Jiuquan, Inner Mongolia, Hebei, Xinjiang, Jiangsu and Shandong provinces of Gansu, China.” –Power Technology
- Program Approved: 2009
- Phase one Completed: 2010
- Delayed: 2016
- Completed: 2021
- Cost: $15 Billion USD
This wind farm is a great example of how projects can change and how you can start on a project and then find out there are some hiccups. The project ended up being delayed for four years due to lack of ability to get the power far enough away from the farms to get power to where it was needed.
“Despite its potential, the wind farm is only using 40% of the power that it generates. This has been put down to weak demand and its geographical location. Its location in the Gopi desert means that it is very isolated. As a result, it is not possible to transmit the power to areas with dense populations.” –TRVST
“…the rapid growth of the power generation capacity outpaced local demand. By 2016, nearly half of the electricity produced by the province’s 9GW worth of wind turbines was discarded because there was no use for it. The same year, Beijing issued a strict ban on further investments for the Gansu wind farm, and many local businesses built on the wind industry went bankrupt or moved elsewhere.”-South China Morning Post
After working with the government to rebuild a plan for how this problem would be solved, the government lifted the ban and they began again, working hard on the project.
“Construction workers have to contend with one of the most hostile terrains on Earth. The Gobi has frequent dust storms, extreme temperatures, and no trace of water. Before building turbines, workers and engineers had to put in place roads, power lines, living quarters and communication towers.
“We finally made it – we turned the lifeless Gobi into an unlimited chamber of treasure,” Jiuquan’s Communist Party secretary Wu Yangdong said in a public speech last month. “We are building a Three Gorges dam on wasteland.”
“The efficiency of the farm’s renewable energy rose to 95 percent and the central government last year lifted its ban on wind energy investment in Gansu.” –South China Morning Post
Largest Wind Farm in the USA: Alta Wind Energy Center (AWEC) aka Mojave Wind Farm
- Located in the towns of Mojave and Tehachapi in California, USA spread across 3,200 acres. It’s the 3rd largest wind farm in the world.
- Wind Turbines: 600
- Total Planned Powering Capability: 1,548 MW
- Powering: 257,000 California homes
- Purchase agreement: 2006
- Phases 1-5 began: 2010
- phases 1-5 completed: 2011
- All remaining units completed: 2013
- Expected Operating Life: 25 + years
“The onshore wind farm was originally developed by Terra-Gen Power, but the company later redistributed various stages of the project to different companies. NRG Renew owns and operates 948MW of the wind farm, BHE Renewables owns and operates 300MW and EverPower owns and operates 150MW. The remaining 150MW is owned and operated by Brookfield Renewable Energy Partners.” –Power Technology
Since the time of Power Technology’s article, Ever Power has been sold to Blackrock.