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< prev - next > Energy Wind power wind for electricity generation (Printable PDF)
Modern wind turbine generators are highly sophisticated
machines which take full advantage of state-of-the-art
technology. Led by improvements in aerodynamic and
structural design, materials technology, and mechanical,
electrical and control engineering, they are capable of
producing several megawatts of electricity. During the
1980s, installed capacity costs dropped considerably.
Wind power has since become an economically attractive
option for commercial electricity generation. Large wind
farms or wind power stations have become a common
sight in many western countries.
To a lesser degree, there has been a parallel development
in small-scale wind generators for supplying electricity for
battery charging, for stand-alone applications and for
connection to small grids. Table 1 shows the classification
system for wind turbines:
Figure 1 : Wind turbines are getting
bigger and wind farms are more common.
Great Orton Windcluster. Photo: Wind
Prospect / Cumbria Wind Farm
Table 1: The classification system for
wind turbines
Source: Spera (1994) and Gipe (1999)
Rotor diameter
Less than 3 m
3 m to 12 m
12 m to 45 m
46 m and larger
Power rating
50 W to 2 kW
2 kW to 40 kW
40 kW to 999 kW
More than 1.0 MW
Wind generation for
developing countries
Unlike the trend toward large-scale grid
connected wind turbines seen in the
West, the more immediate demand for
rural energy supply in developing
countries is for smaller machines of up
to about 60 kW. These can be
connected to small, localised micro-grid
systems and used in conjunction with
diesel generating sets and/or solar
photo-voltaic systems.
Figure 2 : Small wind turbines can play an important role
in rural areas of developing countries.
Photo: Practical Action Sri Lanka
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