Onshore Wind Energy: A Powerful Solution for Mitigating Climate Change
Rising awareness and concern about climate change have led to increased support for renewable energy sources, including onshore wind energy. Meanwhile, the global wind energy market has entered a period of expansion in terms of installed capacity.
Wind power produced 265 TWh more electricity in 2022 than the previous year (up 14%), the second-largest growth of all power generation technologies. Globally, in 2022 a total of 77.6 GW of new wind power capacity was connected to power grids. This brings the total capacity installed in all forms today up to 906 GW1, an increase of 9% from 2021.
As communities grow more aware of energy’s wide-ranging consequences, people increasingly advocate for renewable alternatives. While sustainable options like small-scale hydropower, wind and solar power, biomass, and waste-to-energy composed approximately 22% of total capacity, perspectives have since evolved – demanding sustainable and clean energy solutions.
Onshore wind energy provides a feasible approach to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and address climate change issues. It presents various environmental advantages, including decreased air pollution and preserved water supplies.
Capturing the kinetic energy transferred by wind and changing it into electrical energy enables onshore wind energy. This is accomplished through employing wind turbines, which consist of expansive blades that revolve when blown by wind. The rotational movement of the blades motivates a generator, creating electricity that can power houses, companies, and neighborhoods.
Our analysis indicates that global onshore wind energy is anticipated to experience substantial growth over the forecast timeframe, from 2022 through 2030, with an expected compound annual increase of 25%. The utilization of land-based wind power has been expanding steadily worldwide as additional wind farms are constructed.
Presently, of the approximately 900 gigawatts of wind ability installed last year, 93 percent consisted of onshore arrangements, with the remaining 7 percent originating offshore. This trend is fueled by escalating needs for clean, renewable sources of energy.
Moreover, technological advancements in wind turbines continue, such as higher efficiencies, enhanced dependability, and reductions in sound pollution. These advancements contribute to the overall growth and competitiveness of the onshore wind energy market.
The utility sector occupies the largest share of the onshore wind energy market due to the financial resources and infrastructure that utility firms possess to invest in large-scale wind energy projects. For example, worldwide expenditure on wind technologies totaled approximately $170 billion in the year 2022 alone.
They have the funds to erect and oversee wind turbines, which necessitate huge preliminary costs. Moreover, utility companies regularly broker long-term electricity purchase contracts with other businesses or government agencies. These grants assure a set price for the wind-harvested energy, offering predictability and financial safety in their operations.
Further, many countries in the Asia Pacific region have implemented favorable government policies including enticing feed-in tariffs and tax reductions to spur the development of onshore wind energy projects. For instance, Gansu, China – Gansu Wind Farm, is one of the biggest such projects globally, with projections to achieve 20,000 megawatts in 2020.
Situated in Tamil Nadu, India lies one of the country’s largest onshore wind farms known as the Muppandal Wind Farm, boasting a total installed capacity reaching around 1,500 megawatts, playing a noteworthy function in moving India toward renewable resources. Meanwhile, in 2023, China dominates onshore wind turbine installations as reports indicate over 82 gigawatts of annual capacity.
Major Players in the market include Vestas, Siemens Gamesa, GE Renewable Energy, Enercon, Nordex, Goldwind, Senvion, Suzlon, NextEra Energy Resources, Iberdrola, EDP Renewables, Enel Green Power.
Advancements in Turbine Design
The development of larger rotor diameters allows for increased energy capture and improved efficiency. New turbines installed in 2022, have an average rotor diameter of 130 meters (approx. 420 feet). Meanwhile, the use of modular construction simplifies the manufacturing and installation process, cutting expenses as capabilities scale to satiate society’s surging demand for clean power.
Pitch control subsystems carefully calibrate turbine blade angles according to fluctuating wind speeds, maximizing energy yields while diminishing component wear. Such pitch systems account for 25% of all downtime and over 22% of failures in wind turbines.
A network of built-in sensors constantly monitors operational conditions, allowing for proactive maintenance and optimization of energy production. Cutting-edge command and control mechanisms empower wind generators to reactively balance electrical grids by modulating power inputs relative to needs and frequency regulation.
When energy storage systems and onshore wind farms are integrated with one another, these systems allow for better management of intermittent power and thus lead to higher grid stability as well as increasing excess power use. The integration of wind turbines and the grid through advanced power electronics will not only affect power quality but also make it easier to achieve grid synchronization.
These wind turbines can work independently of grid frequency and voltage. Therefore, they are reliable sources of energy in isolated places or with temporary power cuts.
Challenges and Solutions
Intermittency: The onshore wind energy market is faced with challenges due to the intermittent nature of wind resources. Wind energy generation depends on the speed of the wind, which is variable from hour to hour or even season to season.
Land Use Conflicts: Installing onshore wind farms requires fairly large plots. However, conflicts spring up when suitable land is in short supply and pressure is put on land for other purposes.
Public Acceptance: Public acceptance is a major difficulty for the onshore wind energy market. Concerns about visual impact, sound, wildlife and so on can breed opposition and hinder project development; in some instances, work takes several years to complete.
- To solve the challenge of intermittency, the onshore wind energy market can incorporate energy storage systems like batteries to accumulate the surplus energy on high wind days and disperse it when the wind is low.
- Land conflicts over use may also be reduced through multiple means of participation. Engaging stakeholders from the start of the development phase in projects does not guarantee acceptance, but it can create a good environment for onshore wind.
- With effective communication and education, the public may increase acceptance of onshore wind energy due to lower greenhouse gas emissions and economic opportunities. Working closely with local communities and addressing their concerns facilitates trust and acceptance.
The Role of Government Policies in Promoting Onshore Wind Energy
Government Policies and Incentives
Government policies and incentives play a crucial role in promoting onshore wind energy. These policies can include tax credits, grants, and subsidies. Incentives can encourage investment in wind energy projects and help reduce the cost of production.
- Production Tax Credit (PTC): It is a tax credit for electricity generated from wind — with respect to the Renewable Electricity Production Tax Credit (PTC). Under Section 45 of the U.S. tax code, the production tax credit (PTC) is a per kilowatt-hour (kWh) federal tax credit.
- Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS): RPS requires utilities to get a certain percentage of their energy from renewable sources, including wind. As of November 2022, 36 states and the District of Columbia either had an RPS or a renewable energy goal.
- Feed-in Tariffs: Feed-in tariffs are a crucial pricing mechanism that ensures a fixed payment for electricity generated by onshore wind projects. They guarantee renewable energy producers a viable project by ensuring a certain level of revenue that will make it attractive to investors.
- Renewable Energy Targets: Many countries have used mandatory targets to increase the proportion of renewables in their overall energy mix. That means these forces in power are also favorable to developing onshore wind energy projects and domestic investment in these fields. For example, China is expected to realize its 2030 target for 1,200 GW of central government-produced utility-scale solar and wind power five years early.
- Investment Tax Credit (ITC): Tax credits are used by governments to help onshore wind energy developers lower their tax liabilities. Receiving tax credits significantly lowers the upfront costs of wind projects and improves the financial performance of wind projects. Also, homeowners who put in residential small wind energy systems (small turbine systems of 100 kilowatts or less) by December 31, 2034, may qualify for the federal residential renewable energy ITC.
Case Studies: Successful Government Policies
- Germany: The Renewable Energy Sources Act (EEG) revolutionized Germany’s approach to renewable generation by establishing feed-in tariffs and grid access for wind power and other renewable sources. This groundbreaking policy stimulated vast investment in the wind sector and propelled the nation to the forefront of global wind energy production.
- Denmark: The Danish government implemented a multifaceted strategy to encourage wind power, providing feed-in tariffs, tax relief, and funding for research and development. These coordinated incentives successfully assisted in the expansion of Denmark’s robust wind industry.
- United Kingdom: The UK government introduced Contracts for Difference (CfD), a scheme that provides long-term contracts and stable prices for renewable energy projects, including onshore wind. This policy has brought investment and as a result, significant growth for onshore wind capacity in the UK.
Onshore Wind Energy Projects
Onshore wind energy projects have become increasingly popular as a sustainable and renewable energy source. Here are some examples of onshore wind farms located in different regions and their respective sizes.
- One of the largest onshore wind energy projects in Australia is the Snowtown Wind Farm located in South Australia. It is capable of generating over 370 MW in installed capacity and is an important part of the national effort to move towards a sustainable energy future.
- Aoyama Plateau Wind Farm, “It is Japan’s biggest wind farm and has the Aoyama Plateau property facts in major media outlets. It has a total capacity of 95 MW, and is located in Aoyama Plateau, Muroo-Akame-Aoyama Quasi-National Park.
- Mojave Wind Farm, also known as Alta Wind Energy Center, is the largest wind farm in the United States with a capacity rated at 1,550 MW.
- Horse Hollow Wind Energy Center is a big wind farm with a capacity of 735.5 megawatts (MW). On almost 47000 acres (19000 ha), and in Taylor and Nolan County Texas, there are 291 GE 1.5-megawatt wind turbines. Also 139 Siemens 2.3-megawatt wind turbine.
- India’s largest wind farm is the 1,600MW Jaisalmer Wind Park. It is located in the Jaisalmer district of Rajasthan, India with a group of wind farms developed by Suzlon Energy.
To sum it up, the future outlook for the onshore wind energy market is positive. The adoption of sustainable energy solutions around the world, combined with the lowering costs to generate wind power, is expected to fuel increased growth within the industry.