With the increasing number of on-land turbines and the increasing size of the individual turbines, on-land locations for wind power development have become more difficult to find in an increasing number of countries. In the literature and the public debate, these on-land siting difficulties are often put forward to be related to the perceived environmental costs of wind turbines. However, offshore wind power generation might be a solution to this problem, if the perceived environmental costs are smaller offshore compared with on-land. Based on a review of seven papers focusing on the preferences and willingness to pay for different wind power development sites, people in different countries generally seem to hold significant preferences of offshore wind power development when compared with different types of locations on-land. However, the preferences for offshore wind power development seem to be dependent on the specific place of location offshore. This points towards the fact that offshore locations potentially can have higher environmental costs than on-land locations. However, the preferences for offshore locations strongly indicate that the environmental costs can be significantly reduced by the location of offshore wind farms at large distances from the coast. Copyright © 2008 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.