Offshore Wind Farms: will they be the solution to guarantee more sustainable energy in the future?

  • 13/10/2020
  • 9 分钟

Brazil and the world are betting more and more on wind energy as a way of acting sustainably in a market under pressure due to high prices and limited natural resources. With the current 23 GW generated from offshore wind farms, it is clear that there is still a lot of room for growth.

Only in our country, the potential is already immense, with 700 GW being able to be generated only in parks installed in aquatic spaces. However, the pandemic may impact the scenario of the coming years, with regard to the investments proposed for the sector.

Do you want to know more about this fascinating and essential topic for life on Earth? Follow the reading until the end and see the observations of our interviewee, the consultant on wind and solar energy Paulo Aquino.

What are offshore wind farms?

Offshore wind farms are structures set up at sea, taking advantage of the high wind speed in these locations for energy production. It is known that winds are stronger at sea than on land, which makes energy capture more efficient.

According to Paulo Aquino, these sets of wind turbines are located in shallow waters, with up to 60 meters of draft – as the vertical distance between the keel (bottom) and the waterline of a vessel is called. “The air speed is not only higher, but also more constant, due to the absence of barriers”, explains the expert.

In addition, he points out that it is important that the structures are far from the coast and away from the marine routes, so that they do not harm the vessel traffic. Attention should also be paid to other naval facilities, to areas of ecological interest that may be present in the waters and to the impact on other activities in the offshore market.

How do wind farms work?

The operation of an offshore wind farm is primarily due to the force of the wind. But of course, it goes far beyond that. In addition to the blades, the structures are composed of axes (slow and fast), wind turbines, converters and transformers, among others.

To better understand, follow this step by step:

  • the force of the wind causes the blades to rotate – due to the lack of obstacles and the greater speed reached by the air, this work occurs more constantly than on land;
  • joined to the turbine by means of the bushing, the blades (as well as the slow axis) go between 7 and 12 turns per minute;
  • the multiplier increases the speed by more than 100 times, transferring it to the fast axis which, in turn, transmits the speed to the wind turbine;
  • the east transforms the kinetic energy it receives into electricity, which is conducted to the interior of the tower;
  • there, a converter transforms the direct current into alternating current and a transformer increases the voltage to be able to transport the current through the park;
  • the time has come to transmit electricity to the substation via submarine cables;
  • Upon reaching the substation, the electricity is converted into a high voltage current;
  • finally, electricity, already in cities, is transported through the transmission network and, finally, to the distribution network of each street, until it reaches the homes of consumers, companies and other places.


In addition to the technical aspects, sustainability is another decisive factor for the implementation of offshore wind farms. This type of energy production is renewable, from a virtually inexhaustible natural resource. But the advantages do not end there: this is a non-polluting mode of energy generation, and does not cause environmental damage.

Even the effects of installing parks at sea are minimal and do not affect the fauna and flora of the regions where they are located. In addition, dependence on fossil fuels is drastically reduced.

What are the prospects for the future?

According to information from the Brazilian Wind Energy Association (ABEEólica), the country has 624 installed parks, with a capacity to produce 15.6 GW, which provides a reduction in CO2 generation: there are 28 million tons less pollutants In the atmosphere.

Between 2012 and 2018, the country took a leap: it went from 15th to 5th position among the nations that most installed wind power plants, being in 8th place in relation to installed capacity. In 2019, 55.9 TW / h of wind energy were generated in Brazil, equivalent to supplying 29.5 million homes for a month, with the potential to impact the lives of 88.5 million inhabitants (42% of the population Brazilian).

The future holds great possibilities for the country. If we only consider the potential of offshore wind farms, it is possible to produce 700 GW of energy annually in the country – more than 30 times the capacity currently generated in this modality worldwide, which is 23 GW. However, a series of investments would have to be made to reach that mark.

In the world, the pre-COVID-19 scenario was also interesting, although it is still necessary to assess how the pandemic will affect the segment. “The global wind energy market is expected to grow by an average of 4% each year”, highlights Aquino, stressing that the pandemic may change projections already in the short term.

Before the arrival of the new coronavirus, the expectation was that, between new onshore and offshore installations, there would be a generation of 42 million renewable energy jobs by 2050, according to the report of the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC), released in March 2020.

According to the press release released by the entity, 2020 was expected to be a record year for wind energy, with GWEC forecasting 76 GW of new capacity.

Also according to the Council’s statement, “the total impact of COVID-19 on wind power installations remains unknown. GWEC will revise its forecast for 2020-2024 in light of the possible impacts of COVID-19 on the global economy and energy markets and will publish an updated market outlook in the second quarter of 2020”.

In this article, we seek to present offshore wind farms, their operation and perspectives for the future. Brazil is one of the countries with the greatest potential for installing this type of structure, due to its long coastline on the shores of the Atlantic Ocean. In a world that increasingly demands renewable energy, the possibilities are immense, however challenging the post-pandemic scenario may become.

To learn more about the market outlook for the future, our material on the oil and gas segments in Brazil.