They’re green. They’re clean. And they run on one of the most abundant earth resources: wind.
With the recent Texas energy crisis, Texans are looking for any green energy solution that can lighten the load. Wind energy has been a key part of producing renewable energy. Question is, how do wind turbines work?
It might seem magical installing wind turbines and producing electricity out of thin air. But wind turbines have been creating power for over 100 years. They’re simple in concept but provide the benefits of wind energy to everyone.
In this article, we’ll discuss how wind turbines work.
How Do Wind Turbines Work to Generate Wind Energy?
Wind turbines function by converting kinetic movement into electricity that we can use. Kinetic movement refers to the spinning of the blades.
The turbine needs to somehow transform the wind into electricity. To do this, it needs a way to get the generator into motion. All of the wind turbine features work together in sequence to create this electricity.
Using Airplane Lift to Spin the Blades
When we look at a wind turbine, it may seem like we’re looking at an airplane. That’s not that far from the truth, in fact. The blades on a wind turbine have airfoils that function in a way identical to an airplane’s wings.
As the wind goes through the blades, it creates areas of high pressure and low pressure. This creates what we know of as “lift.” The phenomenon of lift pulls on the rotor blades, causing them to spin.
To turn this into electricity, the generator comes into play. The generator portion of the turbine uses coils of electromagnets that convert the spinning of the rotor into electricity. Then an alternator converts this electricity into the correct voltage and sends it off to the grid.
This means that as a turbine spins faster, it generates more electricity. Not only that, but the longer length of the blades allows it to generate more electricity as well. That’s why turbines have such long blades to begin with.
Are There Other Types of Wind Turbines?
Yes! The wind turbines we’re most familiar with are the most common type. It’s known as a HAWT or horizontal axis wind turbine.
There are other designs of HAWT turbines, although they only use them in niche cases. The second type of wind turbine is the VAWT or vertical axis wind turbine.
These are turbines that catch the wind and spin vertically. While they are less common, researchers are finding new, innovative ways to use them. We may soon see them in Texas as well.
Benefits of Wind Energy
Wind energy isn’t just clean, renewable energy. It has a host of advantages over the competition. It has been exploding in popularity all across Texas for a reason.
Let’s discuss just a few of them here.
They’re a Great Longterm Solution
Wind turbines aren’t cheap for their initial installation. They cost several million dollars for manufacture and installation. They then require thousands of dollars of maintenance annually for the rest of their life.
However, wind turbines can last upwards of 25 years. In the grand scheme of energy production, that’s a long time. And since wind produces so much energy, it’s guaranteed to more than earn its cost over its lifespan.
Solar panels last about the same amount of time, but they are only 20% energy efficient. Wind turbines, on the other hand, put out over 50% efficiency.
Further, wind generation is only getting more efficient as time goes by. Money is pouring into renewable energy research, resulting in more efficient technologies with every passing day.
Cost-Effective Energy Production
Wind energy is already well-known for costing very little per KWh. But for those who live in Texas, we’ve seen the price drop by a significant margin.
That’s because installing wind turbines provides a high cost-to-benefit ratio. Solar panels require a lot more materials to manufacture and a lot more maintenance. They also have less energy efficiency compared to wind turbines which have excellent turbine efficiency.
When making an energy plan, homeowners need to know about the cheapest energy they can get. Wind turbines provide a chance to get some of the cheapest green energy possible.
Minimal Impact on Wildlife
Stories of birds crashing into wind turbines have been all over headlines. But what often goes unmentioned is that birds crash into a lot of things, particularly power lines. Millions of birds crash into power lines every year, with less than a million crashing into wind turbines in the same period.
This isn’t to say that we should ignore the plight of birds, but wind turbines are far less of a threat than other dirty energy. Luckily, new wind turbine features may prevent further bird collisions. One solution is to paint a single blade black, making it easier for birds to see the turbines.
Solutions will present themselves as the years go by, and technology will improve. Wind energy, like all forms of renewable energy, has a long way to go before we perfect it.
Find Affordable Green Energy for Your Household
Wind energy is one of the most promising forms of renewable energy. Using wind turbines, we can harness the virtually unlimited source of energy, that is the wind. And residents of Texas stand to benefit from this technology.
Do you live in an apartment, townhouse, or rental and think you can’t get renewable energy? Now you can! Chariot Energy is here to help.
Check out their Find My Plan page today. With Chariot, you get no down payment, no 15-20 year commitment, and no equipment to maintain.