Every wind farm constitutes of group of wind turbines in the same location that are interconnected with a medium voltage power collection system and communications network.
Term “large wind farms” that is lately very often used isn’t exactly a precise category since it can consist of few dozen to several hundred individual wind turbines connected in one wind farm.
Many energy experts believe that future of wind farms lies in offshore wind farms, since winds are much more powerful and frequent offshore than onshore. However because of these powerful winds these wind farms need to be very strongly built to withstand rough weather condition, and this significantly increases construction costs.
Sites on which to build wind farms are usually preselected on basis of a wind atlas, and validated with wind measurements (Wind Power Density).
Wind farms can have negative environmental impact in form of not only noise pollution but can also present danger for birds and bats, and there have been several reports where significant number of birds was killed by wind turbines (some studies have suggested that wind farms kill about 7,000 birds a year). However most environmentalists will still agree that positive environmental effect significantly outweigh the negative ones, and that building wins farms is one of the most environmentally friendly methods to harness energy. There have been several ideas how to protect birds and other wildlife from wind farms including an option to install new radar technology to protect migratory birds and wildlife.
The world’s largest installed windfarm is Hornsea 2. This 1.3GW offshore wind farm comprises 165 wind turbines, located 89km off the Yorkshire Coast, with the capacity to power over 1.4 million UK homes.
Disadvantages that offshore wind farms have compared to onshore wind farms include high construction costs, and complex and costly maintenance, and advantages compared to onshore farms are stronger and more stable winds, and the fact that wind turbines can be built much larger than on land which significantly improves the efficiency.
The world’s largest onshore wind farm is the 7.96GW Gansu Wind Farm Project. Constructed in the Gobi Desert near Jiuquan in Gansu.
The United Kingdom has 231 offshore wind farm projects of which 42 currently operating (2022 data).
In 2022, Australia has started construction on the 1,026-megawatt (MW) MacIntyre Wind Precinct, the largest wind farm to ever be built in Australia.
Improvements in wind speed forecasting are making wind farms more efficient.
Small wind farms are usually not economically viable energy projects because of the relatively high costs so in most cases high costs outweigh the efficiency of small wind farms.