A clean source of renewable energy, wind produces no water or air pollution. Once a turbine is built, there are nearly zero operational costs since wind is free. Advancements in technology are producing wind turbines that are cheaper and more efficient. Additionally, many governments have begun offering tax incentives to encourage wind energy development.
Benefits of Wind Energy
- Clean – When electricity is generated by the wind, it does not cause pollution like other types of energy sources.
- Cost Effective – Wind energy is the least expensive of all renewable energy sources. Since wind is free, it can provide stable and long-term pricing for power production.
- Renewable – Wind is readily available, plentiful and will not diminish our natural resources.
- Fast Growing – Wind energy has an average growth rate of over 20 percent annually. It has been the fastest growing source of energy in the past 10 years.
- Benefits Society – As a clean source of energy, wind energy helps to reduce the costs associated with air pollution.
- Local Source of Energy – The projects surrounding wind energy keep money in local communities where the projects are located. These projects create jobs and provide steady income to the landowners where the projects are located.
- Efficient and Reliable – Wind energy is efficient and reliable. Wind turbines can generate electricity up to 99 percent of the time.
Parts of a Wind Turbine
- Blades – The blades of a turbine resemble the wings of an airplane. They work to lift and capture the energy from the wind. Due to the special shape of the blades, a pocket of pressure is created behind the blade, causing it to rotate. The blades spin slowly, at the rate of 20 revolutions per minute.
- Nacelle – The gearbox and generator are housed inside of the nacelle. The blades are attached to the nacelle by a series of gears. The gears work to increase the speed. As the generator inside of the nacelle spins, it produces energy.
- Tower – The tower is typically a steel cylinder, white in color that stands up to 200 feet tall. Towers feature a ladder up through the inside of them and a hoist used to lift tools and other equipment to the top.
- Base – The base is made concrete and is reinforced with steel bars. It is one of two basic designs. Either a deep cylinder that measures 16 feet deep and 15 feet around or it is a shallow flat disk that is three feet thick and 40 feet around.
How a Wind Turbine Operates
The principal that wind turbines work on is a very simple one. The wind turns two or even three blades around a rotor. This rotor is connected to a main gearbox, which contains a generator that creates electricity.
Wind turbines are affixed to the top of a tower where they can capture the most wind energy. When they are mounted at heights of 100 feet, they can capture wind that is faster and less unsettled.
Wind turbines can be used for electricity production for a single home or building. Additionally, they can be connected to an electricity grid for more widespread distribution.