How Wind Turbines Produce Electricity
Wind turbines are designed to use wind to turn a generator, which creates electricity. Wind power is entirely renewable because we can always count on there being more wind. As long as there are wind farms to catch the wind that blows around the planet, we can count on wind to supply us with energy.
At a technical level, wind is created when the sun unevenly heats up the atmosphere. A wind turbine turns the force created by wind into electric power. Turbines are different than windmills because windmills use wind to create mechanical energy that only powers whatever is connected to them.
Wind turbines are generally a tall tower sticking up out of the ground or body of water. All of the electrical parts of the turbine are inside the tower. There are blades, usually three of them, at the top of the tower, and they turn as the wind blows on them. As the blades turn, power is created inside the turbine and electricity is created inside its generator.
The first shaft inside the turbine, which is connected right to the blades, is referred to as the low-speed shaft. It only turns between 30 and 60 RPMs. As this first shaft moves mechanically, a big gear turns. That big gear touches a smaller one which is connected to the high-speed shaft, which spins between 1,000 and 1,800 RPMs.
The generator is then connected to that high-speed shaft. The generator contains copper wire, which goes around a big magnet. This creates a flow of electrons in a way that’s similar to how water pumps work. The generator can then produce alternating current, or AC: electric power.
There are turbines of many different sizes, and they all have the potential to create different amounts of power. Turbines that are designed for use by utility companies can produce anywhere from 100 kilowatts all the way up to a number of megawatts. Turbines that are used by utility companies are generally placed in large groups to create wind farms, which create electricity that will be used by the grid. That electricity is transmitted through large distribution lines so that it can power the many different kinds of structures that are connected to the grid.
At this point wind power is supplementary to fossil fuel in powering the grid but it is a very environmentally method to generate power. For home and business owners who would like to do their part and purchase some wind turbines for their property in order to lower their carbon footprint, wind power makes financial and climate sense. The more wind power that can be generated, the better our chances of stabilizing the climate change so evident around us.
Many countries have incentives that make installing wind turbines even more attractive than just helping the environment. Governments often offer rebates or tariffs to assist homeowners with their purchase. Also some wind turbines can be connected to the grid, so that any power your turbine creates but goes unused can be sold to the national grid, reducing your electric bill even further than it would be reduced just by having a wind turbine to create some of your power.
Windpower Technology is a leading expert on small scale wind turbines. We select all of our products carefully and support our customers with realistic, knowledgeable, and trustworthy advice. We always assess your site, situation and budget before determining which wind solution will work best for you. Our technicians work with you every step of the way so that your project is completed easily and efficiently. We can even combine small scale wind with other renewable energy technologies. Call Windpower Technology today to learn more about how wind turbines can help you.