Offshore wind energy

People thought we were crazy when we built the world’s first offshore wind farm in 1991. Did we listen?

How it works

Wind, electromagnetism, and cutting-edge technology equal tremendous power

In 2024, the largest offshore wind farm in the world is our Hornsea 2, with 165 turbines spanning 462 sq km of the North Sea. With one blade rotation, each 200-metre-tall turbine can power a typical British household for nearly 40 hours.

Hornsea 2 Offshore Wind Farm
We’ve broken our own record for the world’s largest wind farm several times over. With the next Hornsea - Hornsea 3 - we’ll do it again

At the core of wind technology is electromagnetism. As a wind turbine’s blades are turned by the wind, the magnets in the turbine rotate inside a coil of conductive wire, generating electrical energy. We bring this energy to shore via subsea cables.

As a developer we’re always working to improve turbine installation, foundation design, logistics, and digitalisation. Together with our suppliers’ work to improve components and wind turbines, this ensures ongoing innovation in wind energy.

With scale and innovation we’ve driven down the cost of offshore wind

Today, new-built offshore wind in Northwest Europe is cost-competitive with fossil fuels and nuclear

Levelised cost of electricity (LCoE)
EUR/MWh, FID 2023, 2023 prices, Northwestern Europe

Source: BloombergNEF 2H2023 LCOE Update
CCGT = Combined Cycle Gas Turbine power plant


Market expansion: the world needs 2000 gigawatts of offshore wind power by 2050

Global offshore wind capacity grew by 286% from 2017 to 2023, according to the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA). But offshore wind needs to grow much faster.

To limit the rise in global temperatures to 1.5 °C and achieve net zero, offshore wind capacity must increase from 72 GW today to over 2000 GW in 2050 – according to both IRENA and the International Energy Agency

Installed capacity, growth, and passion at Ørsted

Our passion for offshore wind has taken us far. We’ve installed 8.9 GW of offshore wind across Europe, the US and Asia – that’s more wind farms at sea than any company worldwide – and we’re aiming for 20-22 GW by 2030.

Typically, we divest 50% of our offshore wind farms to industrial and institutional partners and re-invest the capital in new renewables projects.

What’s next in offshore wind?

Some countries have a shortage of renewable energy sources, while others have more renewable energy than they can use. Like the European Commission, we believe that connecting offshore wind farms to two or more markets at the same time, essentially combining offshore wind farms and interconnectors into ‘offshore hybrid projects’, is a good idea. It will help Europe distribute renewable electricity among its Member States. Find out more in Making Hybrids Happen, our joint paper with Elia Group.


Key benefits of offshore wind power


Our projects

Ørsted’s investment in offshore wind

See all our offshore wind farms, our locations, our installed capacity, and more

Project snapshot: giants in the North Sea

We’re currently building Germany’s biggest offshore wind farm, Borkum Riffgrund 3, in the German North Sea.

83 Siemens Gamesa 11-MW turbines
200-metre rotor diameter
913 MW total capacity

For this project we submitted the first zero-subsidy bid in an offshore wind auction by concluding long-term power purchase agreements with Covestro, Amazon, REWE Group, BASF, and Google – for a total of 686 MW.


Frequently asked questions about offshore wind energy

  • How do offshore wind farms work?

    We find locations where wind conditions are optimal, water depths are shallow enough for us to fix turbines to the seabed, and there is enough space to install hundreds of huge turbines. The sea winds are captured by the turbines’ giant blades and transformed into energy inside the turbine, using the principle of electromagnetism. The electricity generated from all the turbines in the wind farm is fed to offshore substations, which then transport the energy to shore via high-voltage cables. Once inland, the electricity is transformed at the onshore substation and fed into the public grid, where it is ready to power the lives of millions of people.

    Find out more about how offshore wind technology works

  • How much energy does offshore wind produce?

    Offshore wind technology has been around for over 30 years now. In that time, the capacity of the wind turbines has increased significantly. So too has the number of wind turbines we’re able to install at one wind farm. As a consequence, a large new offshore wind farm built today can produce at least as much energy as a conventional power station.

  • What is the carbon footprint of offshore wind?

    When you divide the total emissions associated with a wind turbine by the amount of electricity it will produce in its lifetime, it works out at about 6 g of carbon dioxide for every kilowatt-hour (kWh) of electricity. (Source: Siemens Gamesa)

    By comparison, for coal, this adds up to approximately 900 g per kWh.

    In other words, switching from coal-fired generation to wind power can reduce the carbon emitted from energy production by more than 99%.

    Find out more about the carbon footprint of offshore wind

  • How reliable is offshore wind energy?

    Offshore wind power is more reliable than you might think. The wind blows much more consistently out at sea, and the turbines are designed to generate power even from a very light breeze. In the rare case that there really isn’t enough wind, other sources of power that contribute to the grid can compensate for this. Even in a future world that runs entirely on green energy, offshore wind won’t be the only energy source.

Two wind turbines at Vindeby Offshore Wind Farm.
Offshore wind pioneers
People thought offshore wind farms wouldn’t work. Meet four of the people who proved otherwise.
Wind farm
World’s first wind radar collects big data
Through an advanced radar, we collect three-dimensional wind data from our offshore wind farms, which we use to improve wind farm design.
Offshore wind technology
From turbine blades to the electrical grid: find out how offshore wind travels to your home.
Our offshore wind farms
Find out about the size, location, and energy production of each wind farm.
Power purchase agreements
We’re always looking to enter new partnerships in the markets where we operate.