Wind power or wind energy is the procedure used to generate electricity by harnessing wind or airflow that naturally occurs in earth’s atmosphere. The wind turbines of today on the other hand are used mainly to capture kinetic energy from wind and then, generate electricity.
Wind Power Technology
The large windmill that you see is only one of the different types of wind power technology used nowadays. As a matter of fact, there are three major kinds of wind energy and these are:
- Utility-Scale Wind – these are wind turbines ranging from 100 kilowatts to few megawatts. Here, electricity is delivered right to the power grid and then, distributed to end user by power system operators or electric utilities.
- Small or Distributed Wind – in these single small wind turbines are below 100 Kilowatts and used to power farms, homes or even small businesses that are not connected to the grid.
- Offshore Wind – basically, these are wind turbines that are built in large bodies of water, typically on continental shelf. Also, these wind turbines are bigger than land-based turbines and is capable of generating more power.
How it Works?
When wind blows past the wind turbine, the blades are capturing the kinetic energy brought by the wind and rotate. When the process is complete, it turns the kinetic energy into mechanical energy. This rotation is turning the internal shaft connected to the gearbox that increases the rotation’s speed by a factor of a hundred. This then spins the generator where the end product is what we know it, electricity.
In most cases, it stands at least 262ft tall or 80 meters. A tubular steel tower is supporting the hub with 3 blades attached to it as well as a nacelle that houses the gearbox, the controls, generator and the shaft. Wind measurements are then collected that directs the turbine to face the strongest wind and rotate. The pitch or the angle of its blade is also optimized to better capture the energy.
Operators are then sometimes checking their military time to monitor what time of the day the turbines are gathering the most power for research too.
Common turbines of today will generate electricity when the wind speed reaches 6 to 9 miles per hour, which is otherwise known as cut-in speed. The turbines are going to shut down if the wind blows too hard at around 55mph in order to prevent damage to the equipment.