How It Works

Here are some of the basics of how offshore wind turbines harvest the high-speed wind over water and convert it into usable electricity.

  1. Offshore Turbines capture the wind's energy and generate electricity.
  2. Foundations secure turbines to the ocean floor and cables transmit electricity to an offshore substation
  3. Electricity flows through a buried cable to an onshore substation and is transferred to the existing transmission network.

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Graphic showing offshore and onshore landscape with respect to offshore wind energy generation and transmission. Two offshore wind turbines with are depicted. Electricity from the turbines moves towards an offshore substation through undersea cables. From there, the electricity moves to the onshore substation through a buried cable where it is then transferred to the existing transmission network.

  1. Hub. The hub supports the blades and houses the pitch system, which optimizes blade angle and rotation speed.
  2. Blades. Blades capture the wind's energy and convert it into mechanical energy.
  3. Nacelle. The nacelle houses the components that convert mechanical energy to electrical energy.
  4. Tower. The tower supports the mass of the nacelle, hub, and blades.

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Graphic showing the basic components of an offshore wind turbine. The hub supports the blades and houses the pitch system, which optimizes blade angle and rotational speed. The blades capture the wind’s energy and convert it into mechanical energy. The nacelle houses the components that convert mechanical to electrical energy. The tower supports the mass of the nacelle, hub, and blades.

  1. Foundation. Foundations secure the tower and above-water turbine components to the sea floor. A variety of technologies are available, including jackets, monopiles, and gravity-based foundations.
  2. Array Cables. A network of array cables link the wind turbines together and deliver power from the turbines to the offshore substation.
  3. Offshore Substation. The offshore substation collects and stabilizes the power generated by the turbines, preparing it for transmission to shore.

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Graphic showing how power gets from an offshore wind turbine to the offshore substation. The jacket foundation secures the tower and above-water turbine components to the sea floor. Array cables link the wind turbines together and deliver power from the turbines to the offshore substation. The offshore substation collects the power and prepares it for transmission to shore.

  1. Export Cable. The export cable is buried deep enough to avoid disturbing ocean users and wildlife, and it transmits power from the offshore substation to the onshore substation.
  2. Cable Landing. Horizontal direction drilling, a common method for landing export transmission cables from offshore wind farms, minimizes environmental impacts and disruption to beaches and the shoreline.
  3. Onshore Connection. Electricity is transferred to the existing transmission network.

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Graphic showing how power gets from the offshore substation to the onshore substation. The buried export cable transmits power from the offshore substation to the onshore substation. Electricity is then transferred to the existing transmission network.