The first offshore wind farms
When the 11 turbines of the world’s first offshore wind farm, Vindeby in Denmark, were commissioned by Ørsted in 1991, not many believed that it was practical – or even possible – to operate wind turbines at sea.
In Denmark, a wind energy industry with an established home market emerged following the oil crises of the seventies. Initially seen mostly as a demonstration project to underpin the wind energy industry and its growing export, Vindeby was installed off the coast of Denmark. Totalling 5MW, it covered the annual consumption of 2,200 Danish households.
After the commissioning of Vindeby in 1991, the growth in new offshore wind farms was slow. Over the next ten years, only a few more offshore wind farms – in Denmark, Sweden, the Netherlands and the UK – were constructed, the largest being 40MW. Since the farms were considered pilot projects, the political focus was on technical feasibility rather than on comparing costs to other sources of renewable energy.