Wind Turbines are devices that convert energy from the wind in electric power.
Wind turbines work by a really simple principle. The propellers turn around the rotor with the power of the wind. The rotor is connected to the main shat, which spines the generator to create electricity.
The wind turbines need to be mounted on a tower that can reach over 100 feet from the ground for them to capture the fastest and less turbulent winds. The higher they go the windier it is.
Wind turbines can be used to produce electricity for a single household or in wind farms for a more widespread electricity distribution. The turbines from a wind farm are connected together so the electricity they produce can travel to the power grid.
Wind farms are an important contributor to the renewable energy and they are used all over the world in the effort of reducing the need of using fossil fuel.
Wind turbines are another source of clean energy. Most innovations related with wind turbines are made in a large scale.
Wind turbines are classified by the speed of the wind they are designed for. From class I to class IV. The wind power density or the quantity of wind energy available shows the annual power available per square meter of swept area of a turbine.
There are multiple types of wind turbines.
– The horizontal wind turbines have the rotor shaft and the electrical generator at the top of the tower. They need to be pointed into the wind. That is the main reason why most of the horizontal wind turbines have a gearbox which helps them speed up the rotation of the blades to 320 km/h generating more power.
Most of the horizontal wind turbines used in wind farms are 3 bladed and pointed into the wind by computers to increase their speed.
They can be positioned onshore and offshore. Most of the onshore turbines are higher and bigger. The dimension of most turbines build today have increased a lot from the past and they are around 80MW with a blade of 80 for the once offshore and between 70m -120 m in height for the wind turbines built onshore.
– The vertical turbines don’t need to be pointed in the wind because the main rotor is arranged vertically. It can be easily integrated into a building. The gearbox can be installed closer to the ground for easier maintenance.
The disadvantage of the vertical wind turbines is the lower power efficiency caused by the lower speed of turbines rotation.
When mounted on an existing building, it needs to be taken in consideration the additional stress it can cause to the building due to the high speed winds they generate and the level of noise.
There are many types of vertical turbines. The most recent advancement in the field is the Vortex wind turbine.
His shape rinses a lot of controversies because it is shaped like a giant popsicle stuck in the ground. This system relies on velocity. The winds blowing around the structure determine a spinning motion of vortices and whirlwinds that are relatively small. Once these small whirlwinds get bigger they can cause a structure to move. This movement captured can generate electricity.
How is a wind farm formed?
The developer of a wind farm has to identify an area in the country he wants to build with the strongest wind, access to the land and transmission lines, ability to sell the electricity he produces and also the publics’ engagement when it comes to wind electricity.
After these factors are cleared the developer needs to get the siting and permits done. The resource assessments and transmission studies done can take several years.
The majority of the wind farms 95% are located on private land, where developer pays a lease to use the land. Once the project is built it will be maintained 20 to 30 years.
The transportation of the wind turbines is also challenging. The size of the components, the individual blades and the tower section require specialized trucks and wide roads
When a wind farm is coming to a region, the local economic impact from bringing more jobs, increasing revenue for the land owners and the tax revenue can’t be ignored.
The increased number of jobs in construction, engineering, transportation, manufacturing, equipment supply will bring an increase in the local economy.
Why wind energy?
Wind energy is a renewable form of energy that uses no water. It is drought resistant and emits zero greenhouse emission or pollutants.
The main concern around the wind turbines is not the emission of any kind but the noise they produce when they function and the number of birds and bats killed by the blades.
Even if the cost of green power has decreased the technology necessary to build a wind funnel is higher as initial investment than the fossil fueled generators. 80% of the costs are in the machinery itself, site preparation and installation. Once everything is put into place is no operational expense to it.
Wind can’t be stored and winds don’t always blow when electricity is needed although wind generated electricity can be stored when batteries are used.
A standalone wind turbine can be used by single homes, farms, ranches in windy areas as a way to cut the electric bill.
Wind energy makes up 4% in the total of electricity produced in the USA.
Iowa, South Dakota and Texas are the largest wind electricity generators. They generate more than 25% from the energy they use.
In 2014, United States had around 46.000 wind turbines and they produce enough electricity to power 18 million American homes.