In 2016, about 51 percent of new power capacity in the European Union came from the wind, according to energy association WindEurope. In the U.S., only around 5.5 percent of the nation’s energy came from wind power, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, up from 4.7% in 2015. And, until very recently, all of that wind had been harvested from land-based turbines.
Viewed from the coastline, the blades stoically sweep against the backdrop of the horizon. Far out in the open ocean, a single wind turbine is a spectacular monolith. Arrayed in offshore wind power plants, they push the envelope of human ingenuity. Over the years offshore wind turbines have become larger and more powerful, and now generate more electrical power from fewer turbines, require fewer foundations, much less electrical infrastructure and less frequent service visits, and as a result have dramatically reduced the cost of offshore wind power. In Denmark, a pioneering wind-powered nation since the 1970s, the leading edge of the offshore wind technology is being defined.