How much electricity do wind turbines make?
Ever wondered how wind turbines work or how much renewable energy wind turbines produce?
As wind turbines have become increasingly popular for generating more electricity, more people have become curious about how much power or electricity a wind turbine can actually make.
This post will discuss how wind turbines work and how much electricity they produce. We'll also touch on wind turbine safety and which wind turbine might be appropriate for you.
How do wind turbines work?
Wind turbines are simple machines. They consist of three primary parts: the rotor, the nacelle, and the tower.
If you want to learn the wind turbine basics, here's an excellent course called Introduction to Wind Energy that might be worth a look. Bring note book and pen!
The wind turbine blades on the rotor capture renewable energy from the wind and spins a shaft connected to the nacelle.
The nacelle houses all of the electronic components that run the turbine, including the generator.
The turbine's height determines how much kinetic energy it can capture from the wind - the higher it is, the faster the wind blows. The tower supports the nacelle and rotor.
How much electricity does a wind turbine produce?
There is no single answer to this because it really depends on the wind turbine generate capacity.
For example, small turbines, like those used in residential applications, can produce more than 600 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity per year.
Larger turbines (like those offshore wind farms you might see dotting the horizon), can make much more than that.
For example, an offshore 6-megawatt turbine can generate over 843,000 kWh of electricity per month.
Most onshore wind turbines have a capacity of 2-3 megawatts (MW), producing over 6 million kilowatt hours (Kwh) of electricity annually.
That's enough to meet the electricity demand of around 1,500 average households.
Which wind turbine is right for you?
That really depends on your specific needs and situation.
If you're looking for small wind turbines or lightweight turbines that are easy to install and transport, then a micro-turbine might be a good fit.
If you need something that can handle more wind power, then a larger turbine might be better.
However, if you live in an area with high winds, then a horizontal axis turbine might be the best option.
So really, the best way to find out which wind turbine is suitable for you is to consult with an experienced professional, like a 'windtech' (a wind technician), or mechanical engineer.
They can help assess your individual needs and recommend the best solution.
What about the safety of wind turbines?
The safety of wind turbines has come into question as more and more people live near them.
However, the reality is that they are pretty safe. In fact, they are much safer than coal-fired power plants.
Onshore wind turbines have very few moving parts, meaning there is less opportunity for things to go wrong. They also have a shallow impact on the environment.
On the other hand, coal-fired power plants are one of the leading sources of pollution in the United States.
They release large amounts of carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxide, and mercury into the air. These pollutants can cause various health problems, including asthma and heart disease.
Wind turbine sizes (home and commercial) and electrical output
The MHI Vestas V164
The colossal MHI Vestas V164 is the world's biggest turbine in production. With a blade spanning about 262 feet (80 metres) and weighing just under 73 thousand pounds, the MHI Vestas V164 is surely one turbine that can make any water freeze.
The production model has seen action across Ireland's Sea, as well as other wind projects that began in mid-2018. It can generate 8 MW of electricity.
The Adwen AD8-180
The new model from Adwen is designed to have a blade that's 10% longer than those on the MHI Vestas V164.
It will be used for all sorts of offshore projects in France. The rotor diameter spans 600 feet (182 metres) with this particular turbine. It also has the potential to produce 8,000 MW of electricity.
The Enercon E-126 Wind Turbine
The giant turbines are one of the most incredible things you can see while on land. This model has an impressive diameter of 416 feet (126 metres), making it larger than many ocean-going cruise ships.
The tips reach up to 650 ft (198 metres) in height with their steel yaw bearing connector spinning at 48" around.
The turbine's segmented blades make moving them around on land quicker and easier for installation. This machine can generate 7.58 MW of electricity.
The MingYang SCD Turbine
The design of this Chinese turbine is very compact and features just two blades. (Although the image below features three blades, not sure why?)
The prototype is about 460 feet (140 metres) in diameter with an output of up to six megawatts from German-made blades specifically designed for it by the company's engineers.
Additionally, all other main parts are manufactured domestically across China. This massive wind turbine can produce 80 billion watt-hours of electricity each year.
The Senvion 6.2M152 Turbine
These onshore wind farms just keep getting bigger and bigger!
The 500-foot (152 metre) diameter Senvion prototype has been joined by a larger, more extended blade model that will increase yield and improve operating life by up to five years.
The current models have a wingspan of approximately 414 feet (126 metres). At least 200 units of these turbines are installed or in operation, with plans unveiled soon for an upcoming 6+ MW generating capacity.
The GE Haliade X Wind Turbine
These turbines were displayed at America's first offshore wind farm last year, the Block Island Development.
The Haliade-X is currently known as the world's most powerful offshore wind turbine.
The 495-foot (150 metre) diameter rotor will power projects off France's coast and in Germany. It can produce up to 67 gigawatt-hours of electricity each year.
So, how much power does a wind turbines make with wind speed? Let’s recap. Wind turbines generate about 2.3 megawatts of electrical energy on average, which is enough to power around 600 homes.
Depending on the size and type of turbine, they can produce anywhere from 400 kilowatts to 3 megawatts of energy each.
The number of homes a turbine can power is based on how much wind it catches. Consistent wind speed results in more kinetic energy production.
If you have any questions about wind turbines, wind energy or wind speeds or you want to know how much wind power your area could potentially produce, get in touch with us!
I’m Martin Hurley - the friendliest person in the wind generator field! (That’s me on an early electric bike, back in 2010). I write posts and reviews about wind power, green energy, wind turbine kits, wind energy tools & more!