Wind Power Basics
turbines capture the wind's energy with two or
three propeller-like blades, which are mounted on a rotor, to generate
electricity. The turbines sit high atop towers, taking advantage of the
stronger and less turbulent wind at 100 feet (30 meters) or more aboveground.
blade acts much like an airplane wing. When the wind blows, a pocket of
low-pressure air forms on the downwind side of the blade. The low-pressure air
pocket then pulls the blade toward it, causing the rotor to turn. This is
The force of the lift is actually much stronger than the wind's force against
the front side of the blade, which is called drag. The combination of lift and drag causes
the rotor to spin like a propeller, and the turning shaft spins a generator to
make electricity.” (U.S. DOE)
Wind Power Applications
turbines can be used as stand-alone applications, or they can be connected to a
utility power grid or even combined with a photovoltaic (solar cell) system.
Stand-alone turbines are typically used for water pumping or communications.
However, homeowners and farmers in windy areas can also use turbines to
generate electricity. For utility-scale sources of wind energy, a large number
of turbines are usually built close together to form a wind farm. Several electricity providers today use
wind farms to supply power to their customers.” (U.S. DOE)
Wind Power in the U.S.
The mid-west , California, and parts of
Alaska have rich wind energy resources.
Cape Wind project in Massachusetts would
supply 80% of Cape Cod’s electrical needs.
Wind Power in CT - why is it used less?
is still “cheaper” than any other energy source.
people consider wind turbines to be visually unappealing.
Cape Wind project has been bitterly opposed by residents of Cape Cod such as
Senator Ted Kennedy (D-Massachusetts) (EES, 305).
environmentalists believe wind turbines will hurt species of birds. Others feel
wind power would be a welcome antidote to the fossil fuel problem.
Consequently, the environmental community is split.
U.S. military has suspended several wind projects in the midwest on the grounds that wind turbines could threaten radar capability.