The wind is an energy supply that is safe, free and readily accessible. Wind turbines capture the wind power every day around the world and turn it into electricity. In our way of powering our planet – in a safe, sustainable manner – wind energy plays an increasingly important role.
But how does wind power come about? Wind turbines allow us to exploit wind power and convert it into electricity. When the wind blows, the blades of the turbine rotate in the clockwise direction and capture steam. This causes the wind turbine’s main shaft connected to a transmission box within the nacelle to spin. This wind power is transmitted to the electricity generator via the gearbox. Then the electricity moves to a converter, where the voltage is changed according to the grid.
Wind power is one of the most rapidly growing technologies for renewable energy. Worldwide use is on the rise, partly because costs have decreased. According to recent IRENA data, on-shore and off-shore wind generation capacity has risen by a factor of nearly 75 in the last two decades, from a 7.5 GW (7.5 GW) in 1997 to approximately 564 GW in 2018. Between 2009 and 2013, wind power generation doubled, with wind power representing 16% of electricity produced by renewables in 2016. Many parts of the world have high wind speeds, but sometimes the best places to generate wind are far away. Wind power offers huge potential offshore.
First, more than a century ago, wind turbines emerged. In the 1930s, after the invention of the electrical generator, engineers began to try to utilize wind energy for electricity production. In 1887 and in 1888 wind energy production was carried out in the United Kingdom and in the United States but in Denmark, where horizontal wind turbines were built in 1891 and a wind turbine of 22,8m was started in 1897, modern wind power generation has first been thought to have taken place.
The wind uses kinetic energy created by the moving air to produce electricity. This is transformed into electricity using wind turbines or wind turbines. The wind hits the blades of a turbine at first, which causes a turbine to rotate and rotate. This transforms kinetic energy to rotational energy by moving a shaft connected to a generator to produce electric energy via electromagnetism.
Depending on the size of the turbine and the length of its sheets, the power that can be harvested by the wind. The output is proportional to the rotor size and the wind speed cube. In theory, wind power potential increases by eight when wind speed doubles.
Over time, the capacity of the wind turbine has increased. Typical turbines were 0.05 megawatts (MW) rated in 1985 and 15 meters in rotor diameter. New wind energy projects today have onshore and offshore turbine capacity of about 2 MW.
The commercial wind turbines with rotor diameters up to 164 meters have reached 8 MW. The wind turbines averaged 2 MW in 2014, from 1.6 MW in 2009.
Advantages and Challenges of Wind Power
Due to its many benefits, wind power is one of the world’s fastest growing energy sources. In certain regions of the world, wind power often poses inherent problems which are being tackled by R&D projects worldwide.
- In several countries, wind power is economical. Wind power has to contend with other sources of electricity, but global R&D projects are focusing on ways to lower low on-shore and off-shore wind power (LCOE) prices.
- Wind power also has the advantage of being a domestic power supply that makes an endless local resource possible. However, some suitable sites for wind farms are remote areas that pose construction and electricity supply logistics challenges. Breakthrough technology such as two-piece blades and modular construction contribute to solving such challenges.
- Wind turbines do not explicitly produce carbon dioxide or greenhouse gases—they help countries achieve their goal for reducing their emissions and fight against climate change. They are also a renewable source of energy. Wind energy is abundant, readily accessible and its capture does not deplete our precious natural resources. Indeed, the potential to offset the adverse effects of climate change is an environmental advantage for wind power. The Global Wind Energy Outlook plans to replace 2,5 billion tons of carbon annually by 2030
Value of Wind Energy
The collection and transformation of operational wind power data from wind turbines helps to raise income, minimize costs and reduce the risk for wind turbine operators. At GE we provide information based on wind energy analytics, advanced field services and expert advice – all combined into one software framework that enables us to optimize over 15,000 wind turbines across 12 different OEMs.
Take a look at our Digital wind turbines solutions, a series of applications that work with our data and analytical hardware and services solutions – to increase the performance, cyber safety, reliability and profitability of your properties.
Storing Clean Wind Energy
For wind turbine operators it is important to dispatch and deliver clean energy when and where it is required. An energy storage battery provides versatility for new applications, which in combination with wind power generation opens up new market value. You will help to balance the grid, to monitor the energy flow, to maximize asset operations, and to generate new revenues with clean wind storage.
World’s most powerful Off-Shore Wind Turbine
In the next 10 years, the offshore wind farm will rise from 17 GW to 90 GW. GE is using the wind industry-wide growth with over 400 million dollars in investment in the creation of the most efficient offshore wind turbine — an investment that will also push the offshore wind farm’s LCOE down, thereby enhancing its customers’ competitiveness for offshore wind energy. Haliade-X 12 MW Turbine features an offshore wind-enabled technology which helps its customers succeed with 12 MW of power, a 220-meter rotor, a 107-meter blade, a leading capacity factor of 63 percent, and digital capacity.
Wind turbines exploit wind power and use it for electricity generation. Wind turbines simply operate the other way around from a fan. Instead of wind turbines – like a fan – using electricity to produce power. The wind turns the blades and spins the electricity generator. This image offers a comprehensive overview of the inside and the features of a wind turbine.
Measures the speed of the wind and transmits wind speed data to the controller.
Lifts and rotates when wind is blowing over them and causing the rotor to spin, most turbines have either two or three blades.
Which helps in stopping the rotor mechanically, electrically, or hydraulically, in emergencies.
The machine starts from 8 to 16 miles/hour (mph) at wind speeds and shuts the machine down at 55 mi/h. Turbines do not operate above approximately 55 mph at wind speeds because high winds can damage them.
Connects the lower-speed shaft to the high-speed windshaft and raises the rotational speed from approximately 30-60 rotations per minute (rpm) to around 1 000-1 800 rpm. It’s an expensive (and heavy) wind turbine component and engineers are researching “direct drive” generators that run at lower speeds and they don’t require transmission boxes to run.
The electricity produced by 60-cycle AC is normally an induction generator outside of the shelf.
High speed shaft:
The shaft drives the generator.
Low speed Shaft:
Turns the shaft at about 30-60 rpm.
Sits on top of the tower and includes the gear box, shaft, generator, controller and brake. Some of the nacelles are large enough to land on a helicopter.
Turns or pitches the blades out of the wind to adjust the speed of the rotor and prevent a wind from turning too high, too low for electricity to be produced.
The rotor is formed by blades and hub.
Made of stainless steel, or steel lattice (shown here). It supports the turbine structure. As the speed of wind increases with height, higher towers allow more energy for turbines and more electricity for generating them.
Determines the turbine design. Upwind turbines – such as those displayed here – face to the wind as downwind turbines face off.
Measure the wind direction to correctly orient the Turbine to wind and communicate with the Yaw drive.
Orients upwind turbines so that when the direction changes, they keep facing the wind. Downwind turbines do not need a motor yaw, as the wind blows the rotor away manually.
Gives power to the yaw drive
A Success Timeline Story of Wind Energy going Global
The Wind Energy Technologies Office (WETO) in the US Department of Energy has been working on ways to protect bat from wind farms for the past 20 decades. The development of an ultrasonic bat dissuasive technology, from the initial design to the recently launched wind farm business domestically and internationally, is one of such solutions.
Since the year 2000, wind-powered capacity in the US has grown from just over 2,5 GW to over 100 GW. The potential impact on several animals, including bats, increases with increased wind energy installation. On the basis of available data, tree roosting bats such as the Eastern Red Bat and the Hoary Bat are most at risk, although a lot of the bat interactions with Wind Turbines are still unknown.
The Bats and Wind Energy Cooperation (BWEC) helped to encourage and to coordinate a study of impact drivers and mitigation solutions for bat fatalities in wind farms in 2003, with the DOE and other wind energy stakeholders. BWEC-related investigators found in years to be able to prevent operating during low wind speeds when bats are more at risk by increasing wind speeds at the time turbines start producing power. This method of curtailment could reduce the mortality rate by 50% or more, but it was very costly for turbine operators to decrease power.
In 2006, ultrasound researchers found that bats around wind turbines could have a potential deterrent. WETO funded the first ultrasonic bat dissuasive wind turbines test developed by Deaton Engineering in 2009 in coordination with the BWCE. The device consisted of eight electrostatic transducers (or speakers) mounted in a box that was mounted at various locations around the wind turbine cell. The results were mixed because of speaker hardware limitations but the technology showed significant decreases in overall bat kills at wind turbines.
With WETO funding in 2015, NRG Systems has worked with Bat Conservation International to improve the hardware and functionality of the Deaton prototype device considerably through the refurbishment of speakers and the improvement of weather-resistance. They also performed a small field test, which demonstrated their effectiveness by installation of six deterrent units on 16 turbines. Although the results of this study have shown continuous improvement, it has also been found that some bat species such as the Eastern Red Bat have not shown the same response and the corresponding decrease in mortality as compared with other species. The National Renewable Energy Lab of the DOE is currently working with NRG Systems to refine the device’s ultrasound signal in order to better target individual high-risk species.
In order to refine the range of the system and demonstrate it more effectively, NRG has leveraged technology improvements and research results from the 2015 project in various follow-up research projects with industry partners. In 2017–2018, the University of Texas State, NRG, and Duke Energy conducted a field study which identified a reduction of overall bat deaths by 50 percent for Hoary Bats by 78 percent. In 2019 NRG announced its partnership with Vestas Wind Systems with the global fleet of turbines in order to provide bat deterrent system installation and maintenance services on existing Vestas’s turbines in the United States and Canada. The SGRE team also announced collaboration in July 2020 on the installation and support of the NRG deterrent system across SGRE’s turbine fleet. Gamesa Renewables Energy (SGRE)
Although the use and use of ultrasonic deterrence may still pose a bat risk, particularly in areas of low wind speed where the cost of curtailing wind turbine operations could have an impact on the financial viability of a wind farm. Wind turbines are operating at high speed. DOE and stakeholders in the wind industry continue to invest in development of ultrasonic dissuasive technology, improve dissuasive effectiveness among specific fat species and develop innovative ways to extend the signal to the whole wind turbine blade. Other approaches to protect bats on wind farms, including optimized cuts to reduce energy loss while protection of bats, are also promoted by DOE to provide stakeholders in the wind sector with a wide toolbox of proven, effective and affordable bat mitigation solutions.
Wind energy – Advantages & Challenges
Economic wind power: Wind power. Land based wind is one of today’s lowest energy sources, costing 1–2 cents per kilowatts-hour following the tax credit for production. Since wind farms have electricity sold for a long time (for example, 20+ years) at a fixed price and the free fuel of the wind farms mitigates the price uncertainty that the cost of fuel adds to traditional energy sources.
Wind creates employment: The U.S. wind industry employs over 100,000 people and is one of the fastest growing American jobs as a technician in wind turbines. Winds are able to support more than 600,000 jobs in manufacturing, installations, maintenance and support services by 2050, according to the Wind Vision report.
Wind allows the US to grow its industry and to compete in the USA. Annual investment of over $10 billion in the US economy represents new wind projects. The USA has a vast resource base and highly qualified personnel and can compete in the clean energy economy globally.
It is a smooth source of fuel. Wind power does not pollute air as fossil fuels, such as carbon and natural gas, that release particulate matter, nitrogen oxides and Sulphur dioxide, which cause both problems with human health and economic harm. Wind turbine emissions that cause acid rain, smog or greenhouse gases do not produce atmospheric emissions.
Wind is a household energy source. The wind supply of the nation is plentiful and endless. The U.S. wind turbines have increased 15 per cent per year over the last 10 years, making wind the biggest source of renewable energy in the US.
This is sustainable. It is sustainable. In fact, wind is a solar energy form. The sun’s heating, the earth’s rotation and the surface irregularities are responsible for winds. The produced energy can be used to send power across the grid for as long as the sun shines and the wind blows.
On existing farms or ranches, wind turbines may be built. This is of great benefit to the rural economy, which is home to most of the best wind farms. Farmers and farmers can keep working on this land, because only a fraction of the land is used by the wind turbines. The owners of wind power plants lease the farmers or rancher for use of the land, providing additional income to property owners.
Wind power still has to compete on a cost basis with conventional sources. Whilst wind energy prices have dropped sharply in recent decades, wind energy projects must be able to compete economically with the cheapest energy source and some areas may not be windy enough to be competitive in costs.
Far from cities where electricity is required, good wind sites are often located in a remote location. To bring electricity from the wind farm to the town, transmission lines have to be constructed. But building only a few transmission lines that are already proposed could substantially reduce wind energy expansion costs.
Perhaps the most profitable use of the land is the development of wind resources. Land suitable for installing wind turbines must compete with alternative land uses that may be more valuable than power generation.
Turbines could cause aesthetic contamination and noise. While wind power stations have relatively few environmental impacts compared to conventional power stations, concern exists about turbine blade noise and landscape visual impacts.
The local wildlife can be affected by wind plants. By flying into spinning turbine blades, birds were killed. Most of these problems were solved or reduced greatly by technological development or the correct location of wind farms. Turbine blades have also been killed by bats and research is underway to develop and improve wind turbine solutions to reduce their impact on these species. Like all sources of energy, wind projects can alter their habitat, which can alter their suitability in some species.
Wind Power, sustainable option of renewable energy.
Air movement from a high-pressure to a low-pressure area is wind. Actually, there is wind, because the sun heats the earth unevenly. The cooler air is filling the void as hot air rises. The wind will blow as long as the sun shines. Wind has been a power source for people for a long time.
Old sailors used windscreen sails. Former farmers used windmills to pump water and grind their grains. Today wind turbines are increasingly breezing electricity. Wind turbines have increased over the last decade by more than 25% annually. However, it supplies only a small portion of the energy of the world.
Let us get inside the machines.
The majority wind energy comes from turbines that have three 200-foot (60-metre) long blades and that can be as high as a 20-story building. The wind turns the blades, turning a shaft connected to an electricity generator.
In one years (approximately 12 megawatt hours), the largest wind turbines generate enough electricity to supply some 600 US homes. Wind farms contain dozens and sometimes hundreds of these turbines in windy places. Smaller turbines erected at a backyard can provide a single house or small business with enough electricity.
The Wind Energy Industry
Wind is a clean energy source that does not pollute air or water. And as the wind is free, the operating costs for a turbine are almost zero. Many governments offer tax incentives to spur development of wind energy, as well as mass production and technology progress are making turbines cheaper.
Drawbacks include local complaints about ugly and noisy wind turbines. Birds and bats, but almost as many as cars, power lines and high-rise buildings can be killed by slowly rotated blades. Also, the wind varies: no electricity is generated if it doesn’t blow.
The wind power sector is booming, however. Renewables are growing with wind power being at the forefront, thanks to global efforts to combat climate change, such as the Paris Agreement. Between 2000 and 2015, worldwide cumulative wind capacity increased from 17,000 megawatts to over 430,000 megawatts. China also exceeded the EU in terms of the number of wind turbines installed in 2015 and continues to be a major supplier.
Industry experts predict that by 2050 one-third of the global energy needs will be met by wind power if this pace of growth continues.
Data of Wind Energy
The commercial wind turbines with rotor diameters up to 164 meters have reached 8 MW. The wind turbines averaged 2 MW in 2014, from 1.6 MW in 2009.
Things you probably don’t know about Wind Power
Wind turbines are booming in size to record. Turbines installed in 2018 averaged 379 meters of rotor diameter, up 141% from 1998–1999. NREL – NRELWind energy has been used by human civilizations for millennia. Wind was used to crush grain or pump water early forms of windmills. The wind generates electricity through modern wind turbines. Learn how a wind turbine is functioning.
- Wind turbines today are far more complicated than traditional prairie windmill machines. There are up to 8,000 components in a wind turbine.
- There are large wind turbines. The average wind turbine blade of the statue of liberty is 190 feet long, with the turbine towers average about 295 feet high.
- The higher speeds of wind mean more electricity, and the higher the heights above the ground, the higher the wind turbines are. Refer to the wind resource maps of the Energy Department to find average wind speed in your state and city, and see an Energy Department National Renewable Energy Laboratory report for more possibilities for larger wind turbines.
- Here are manufactured many of the wind turbine components installed in the United States. There are more than 500 production plants in 43 states, and more than 114,000 people are employed in the U.S. wind industry.
- In 2016 the first offshore wind farm of the nation was built off the Rhode Island Coast, providing power to highly populated coastal cities. See what the Department of Energy is doing in the United States to develop offshore wind.
- With the first wind farm in North Carolina to enter into service in early 2017, wind power in 41 countries is now installed. Winds in all 50 countries, plus Puerto Rico, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands, are distributed.
- At the end of 2019, the wind capacity of the United States amounted to 105,591 megawatts, making it the biggest source of renewable energy in America. This is enough power to compensate for the average US household consumption of 29.5 million.
- Economic wind energy. Power contract wind prices signed in recent years and levelled wind prices (the price paid by the wind power plant to purchase power) are 2–4 cents per kilowatt-hour.
- Wind power generation in 14 States provides more than 10% of all electricity, and in Kansas, Iowa, and Oklahoma more than 30%.