One of the world’s fastest-growing sources of renewable energy is wind power and demand is growing every year. In fact, the worldwide wind energy market is almost four times as big as it was in 2010, while the global market is worth somewhere in the region of £70 billion. When it comes to the world’s largest offshore wind farm and the biggest wind farm in the world, the contenders aren’t blowing hot air, they mean business!
Ships have been using the power of the wind for almost 6,000 years. Windmills have been making flour and pumping water since the seventh or eighth century, but it took another 1,100 years for the first wind turbines to appear.
In 1887, Professor James Blyth built a ten-metre high cloth-sailed wind turbine to charge an accumulator to power the lights in his cottage on Scotland’s east coast. Thereby creating the world’s first house powered by the wind.
The late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries saw great advances in electricity generation from wind power. Today, there are believed to be around 400,000 wind turbines all over the world generating somewhere in the region of 840 GW.
Let’s breeze through the list of largest wind farms in the world, measured by installed capacity in megawatts, i.e. the amount of energy produced.
Location: Fosen, Norway | Turbines: 278 | Installed capacity: 1,057 MW (1.05 GW)
Europe’s largest operational onshore wind farm, Fosen Vind is located in central Norway and is a complex of six wind farms completed in 2020. The project cost around €1.1 billion and more than doubled the country’s wind power generation capacity.
Location: North Sea | Turbines: 165 | Installed capacity: 1,386 MW (1.38 GW)
The world’s largest offshore wind farm covers an area of 462 square kilometres of the North Sea (equivalent to more than 64,000 football pitches) and is located 89 kilometres off the Yorkshire coast.
The project became fully operational in August 2022 and it will help to power over 1.4 million UK homes. Each of the turbine blades is 81 metres long and one revolution provides enough energy to power an average UK home for 24 hours.
Muppandal Wind Farm
Location: Tamil Nadu, India | Turbines: 3,000 | Installed capacity: 1,500 MW (1.50 GW)
Commissioned in 1986, Muppandal is the biggest wind farm in India and the third largest wind farm in the world.
Located in the state of Tamil Nadu on India’s southern tip, it is a barren landscape but the perfect location for a wind farm as it benefits from high pressure winds coming off the Western Ghats mountain range to the west.
Alta Wind Energy Centre
Location: California, USA | Turbines: 600 | Installed capacity: 1,550 MW (1.55 GW)
The largest wind farm in America and the second biggest wind farm in the world, the AWEC, also known as the Mojave Wind Farm, covers an area of 130 square kilometres and cost almost $3 billion. The project aims to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 5.2 million tonnes. Further planned phases aim to take the installed capacity up to 3,000 MW (3 GW).
Gansu Wind Farm
Location: China | Turbines: 7,000 | Installed capacity: 7,965 MW (7.96 GW)
Also known as the Jiuquan Wind Power Base, the Gansu Wind Farm sits on the outskirts of the remote Gobi Desert in northern China and is the largest wind farm in the world.
When completed, it is scheduled to have an installed capacity of 20 GW. To get the electricity from one of the most remote and hostile areas on the planet to central and eastern China, a 2,383 kilometre transmission line was built as part of the country’s Renewable Energy Law.
A Vital Source of Energy
So these are the largest onshore and offshore wind farms including the biggest wind farm in the world.
Wind farms on such a vast scale are a relatively recent development and – alongside other green energy sources – will dramatically reduce reliance on fossil fuels into the twenty-first century.
What is the Biggest Wind Turbine in the World?
According to Guinness World Records, the largest wind turbine in the world is the Haliade-X made by General Electric. It is a staggering 260 metres tall and has a rotor diameter of 220 metres.
The rotor blades are 107 metres long, two metres longer than the length of the Wembley Stadium football pitch. They are due to be installed at the UK’s Dogger Bank Wind Farm which will become the world’s largest offshore wind farm when it becomes operational around 2025. It will have an installed capacity of 3,600 MW (3.6 GW) and the capability to power six million UK homes.