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Harnessing power from the wind has been in existence millions of years ago with the first recorded wind mill dated in the 6th century A.D.
Wind technology has been used in different areas such as pumping water, powering sawmills, grinding grains, and the most recent in the energy sector that uses wind technology to generate electricity particularly by adopting the wind turbine technology.
The development of wind turbine technology has seen rapid growth, and wind turbines have taken many types and models that propel more power.
New designs of wind turbines are aimed to produce more electricity by having larger lengths of blade. This in turn promises a reduced cost on generation renewable energy.
How Does the new Wind Turbine Technology Work?
Wind turbine technology uses the natural power of the wind to pump a generator to produce electricity. The energy from the wind is termed as clean and renewable or sustainable source of fuel because it is replenished by the sun’s energy constantly.
Windmills are considered the precursor of wind turbine technology. With rapid growth and enhancements, wind turbines are categorized into two (2) overarching types based on the orientation of the rotor: the vertical axis wind turbines and the horizontal-axis wind turbines. The most common form is the horizontal axis with three blades that rotates around a hub placed at the top of a steel tower.
Majority of wind turbines start to generate electricity when the wind reaches the speed of 8 miles per hour, generate maximum power at wind speed of 30 miles per hour, and shut down when the speed of the wind reaches 50 miles per hour to prevent damage.
How Is Electricity Generated from the Wind Using Wind Turbine Technology?
• Generating clean and renewable energy from the wind that turns into electricity is simple:
• The wind passes over the turbine blades that exert a turning force.
• The shaft inside the enclosure known as nacelle is turned by the turbine rotating blades and in turn the shaft is directed to a gearbox.
• The gearbox converts the rotational energy that has been sped up by the generator into electrical energy.
• The electrical energy goes to a transformer in order for it to be converted to the right voltage for power distribution.
• The distribution system transmits the converted electricity around a specific area and into the consumption of households and businesses.
Factors Affecting the Electricity Produced by Wind Turbine Technology
• Wind Speed – wind turbines set at locations where the average wind speed is 8 meters per second will produce more electricity by around 75% to 100% than those placed at locations where the wind speed averages 6 meters per second.
• Wind Turbine Availability – the typical availability rating of any wind turbine is 98%, meaning that most of the time the wind turbines are capable to operate when the wind is blowing. Wind turbine downtime should be minimal and constant periodic maintenance should be done.
• Wind Turbine Arrangement – wind turbines are laid out in wind farms in an arrangement that one turbine does not take the wind form another wind turbine. Factors that affect optimum wind capture layout include requirements for the connection of the grid and visibility and other environmental considerations. Location also plays an important part and should be looked into in the planning process.