Along with Solar, Wind energy has evocatively changed the renewable landscape world over. 2020 has been a record year for the wind industry as well, with over 93 GW of new wind power capacity installed, mainly in China and the US. So, where all are the big wind turbines sprouting up?
Jiuquan Wind Power Base, China
Let’s start with China.
Arguably the biggest, Jiuquan Wind Power Base has over 7,000 turbines with an impressive 20 GW produced at peak capacity. Yet they only use 40% of the power it generates owing to lesser demand and its geographical location. After all, it is in the middle of the Gobi Desert. The State Grid Corporation of China’s workaround involves developing a 750 KW high-voltage direct current transmission line to reach densely populated areas.
On the whole, though, China, which owns 92,000 wind turbines throughout the country, produces 288.82 GW of power. And it is showing no signs of abate. China’s wind power future holds the promise to power up to 20,000 households annually through their latest offshore wind turbines plans. When assembled, the turbine will have a total swept area of over six football fields, according to its manufacturers.
Alta Wind Energy Centre, United States
Covering over 3,200 acres, the Alta Wind Energy Center in the Californian desert is one of the largest farms in the world and the biggest of its kind in the U.S. Currently, it has the capacity to generate 1,547 MW of clean energy. It took $2,875 billion to make.
The U.S. is second to only China in wind farms and boasts of over 122 GW of installed wind capacity–almost all of which is based onshore. In 2020, the country added 17 GW of new wind capacity. Texas is one of the leading US states for wind power generation, followed by Wyoming, Iowa, Oklahoma and Missouri.With the presiding government’s campaign to target 30 GW offshore wind capacity to be installed by 2030, the US hopes to completely decarbonise its power system by 2035.
Hornsea Wind Farm, United Kingdom
When completed, the Hornsea Wind Farm will be the largest offshore wind farm in the world. Anchored in the North Sea, 120 km off the east coast of England, the wind farm owned by the Danish company Ørsted has a current capacity of 6 GW. The project’s total capacity on completion is not yet predicted by Ørsted because of the ever-increasing size of wind turbines for the project. We expect construction of the wind farm to start in 2023, and be operational by 2027. Hornsea is a part of the UK’s growing fleet of 10,961 wind turbines that contributed 24.8% of its electricity needs.
Borssele (I – IV), Netherlands
Borssele is located off the coast of the Netherlands Kingdom and is arguably the largest wind farm in Europe. Currently Netherland’s largest wind farm project, the offshore wind farm is expanding in phases. The Borssele I & II, as they are termed, saw 94 Siemens Gamesa 8MW, Eiffel sized wind turbines sprawled across the Netherlands.
Together with Borssele III & IV just 22 kilometres off the Province of Zeeland in the Netherlands, the Netherlands hopes to power a million households with sustainable energy. Capacity additions for the wind farm amounted to almost 1,500 megawatts in 2020.
Max Bögl Wind AG near Stuttgart, Germany, needs a special mention in the European wind turbine scenario for its sheer height (178m). In fact, Vestas’ planned 15 MW turbine in Germany will closely contest with the above-mentioned Chinese wind turbine to be the world’s largest for 2024.
Muppandal Wind Farm, India
At the very tip of the Indian Peninsula, you will find the Muppandal Wind Farm in the Kanyakumari District in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. It always receives high-pressure wind which makes the 3,000 odd wind turbines the largest producer of clean energy from wind in India. Generating well over 1,500 MW of clean energy, the farm has been instrumental in bringing down the CO2 emissions in India (regarded as the 3rd highest emitter of greenhouse gases in the world).