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Generation of electricity has emerged as the most important application of wind energy world-wide. The concept is simple: flowing wind rotates the blades of a turbine, and causes electricity to be produced in generator unit. The blades and generator (housed in a unit called ‘nacelle’) are mounted at the top of a tower.

 

Technology

Wind turbines generally have three rotor blades, which rotate with wind flow and are coupled to a generator either directly or through a gear box. The rotor blades rotate around a horizontal hub connected to a generator, which is located inside the nacelle. The nacelle also houses other electrical components and the yaw mechanism, which turns the turbine so that it faces the wind. Sensors are used to monitor wind direction and the tower head is turned to line up with the wind.

The power produced by the generator is controlled automatically as wind speeds vary. The rotor diameters vary from 30 metres (m) to about 90 m, whereas the towers on which the wind electric generators (WEGs) are mounted, range in height from 25 to 80 m.

The power generated by wind turbines is conditioned properly so as to feed the local grid. The unit capacities of WEGs presently range from 225 kilowatt (kW) to 2 megawatt (MW), and they can operate in wind speeds ranging between 2.5 m/s (metres per second) and 25 m/s.

Establishment of wind mills

Wind speed data of potential locations is compiled for a period of one to two years, to identify suitable sites for the installation of WEGs. Thereafter, WEGs are installed on the sites with appropriate distances between them to ensure minimum disturbance to one another. After the identification of sites, wind turbines generally take two to three months for installation. The equipment is tested and certified by agencies to ensure that it conforms to the laid-down standards, specifications, and performance parameters. The machines are maintained by the respective manufacturers after installation.