How do we turn wind into energy?
The three main components are:
- A support tower
- Rotor blades
- The nacelle, which contains the gearbox and the generator
The wind turns the blades, transforming kinetic energy (the energy produced by the movement of the wind) into mechanical energy. The blades then turn the gearbox. The wind will cause the blades to turn, depending on their size, between 10 and 25 times a minute. The larger they are, the more slowly they turn.
The generator then transforms the mechanical energy into electrical energy, which is then channelled to an electrical grid or storage batteries.
Wind turbines can be used individually, but they are often grouped into “wind farms” or “wind power plants”.
What are the pros and
cons of wind energy?
- It is a 100% natural and renewable energy source.
- There is no risk of shortage because it is produced from the wind.
- It does not pollute.
- Its yield is excellent in the winter since that’s when the wind is strongest.
- It is difficult to anticipate the production of energy because the wind is unpredictable.
- There are significant construction costs.
Where does wind energy come from?
The wind blows, the rotor activates and turns the blades.
The rotor spins an axis in the nacelle, which is called the generator. This produces an alternating electric current.
The transformer raises the electric tension created by the generator. The electric tension is carried through the system’s power lines.
Construction of an artificial offshore energy production island in Denmark, with 600 wind turbines!
Product capacity and CO2 reduction
According to the Government of Canada, installing just 6 wind turbines with a capacity of 65 kW in Newfoundland could produce approximately 1 million kWh of electricity annually, and reduce CO2 discharges by approximately 750 tonnes.
Wind energy, nothing new
There was a time when we milled grain using windmills or sailed the seas exploring for new lands using the energy of the wind!
Did you know?
Wind energy is also known as aeolian energy, which comes from the Greek Aeolus, the God of wind.
¹ Wind as a source of energy | Ministère de l’Énergie et des Ressources naturelles (gouv.qc.ca)
² Wind Energy (nrcan.gc.ca)
³ Définition | Éolienne – Aérogénérateur | Futura Planète (futura-sciences.com)
4 Generating Electricity: Wind Power | Let’s Talk Science (letstalkscience.ca)
5 Le fonctionnement de l’énergie éolienne | Mtaterre