What is wind energy? – why is it so important in the UK?

29th Aug 2022 | Mollie Pinnington | 3 minute read

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 What is Wind power

This is energy that is sourced from turbines being powered by wind. The kinetic energy that is produced as a product of this is then converted into electricity to power the national grid. Wind power has often been referenced as one of the most established and cost-effective renewable energy types.

As of last year, around 26.1% of the UK's total electricity was generated by wind. However, the government has stated in the past that they would like to increase the energy mix of wind power as they want this to be able to power every home in the UK by 2030. Although wind generates a lot of energy it is not reliable as it counts on the weather and wind speed is quite difficult to predict.

When it comes to generating energy from wind, this comes from wind turbines. These are either onshore or offshore wind farms. The technology for both is very similar. The variations for both come from the position, size, scale and energy transfers.

Offshore wind farms

Offshore wind farms are positioned in the sea, hence why they are called offshore. These wind farms are often considered more efficient and power more energy due to the high speeds of wind. The wind in these locations is usually more consistent than on onshore sites.

Currently, the UK is a world leader in offshore wind power generation as 34% of total global offshore projects are based here in the UK. Most wind farms are located in the Irish Sea and the North Sea on the coast of Scotland and England. The Dogger Bank project on the coast of Yorkshire is set to become the UK's biggest offshore wind farm by 2023.

When it comes to offshore farms the Ocean provide more space to construct in and perfect open conditions for wind. Offshore wind projects are usually a way of the coast so are not as controversial as onshore wind farms as some have labelled these an "eye sore".

Onshore wind farms

Onshore wind farms are energy generated by wind turbines located on land. Wind farms in the UK are usually based in rural areas which are less populated with housing and buildings. This allows for strong winds as there is not much to interrupt the natural airflow. The UK has around 1,500 wind farms generating over 12GWh for the national grid.

Onshore wind farms are preferred by renewable energy companies as being land-based makes for quicker planning and installation process and is cheaper and easier for staff to maintain than offshore wind farms. However onshore farms tend to be seen as controversial by some people. A lot of residents in the UK don't like the look of wind farms taking up spaces in natural areas and the noise pollution they can cause.


there are many benefits to wind energy for example small and medium-sized wind turbines are empowering local areas and businesses to run on renewable energy in rural areas. Meanwhile, big wind farms are generating a large amount of energy from the national grid, which increases the amount of clean energy in our national energy mix.

Wind farms are also one of the greenest forms of energy generation as offshore farms provide reefs and places for marine wildlife to survive.

With more and more projects for renewable wind generation, we could see a higher capacity for this type of energy in the future.


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