100 interesting wind turbine facts

The first wind turbine in the history was built by Charles F. Brush in 1887.

Wind turbine is device that converts the kinetic energy of wind into electrical energy.

Wind turbines have an average lifetime of about 25 years.

The world’s oldest operating wind turbine is located in the town of the Tvind in Jutland, Denmark, and went online back in 1979.

The first electricity-generating wind turbine was a battery-charging machine.

The first windmill was invented by a Greek, Tesibius, who lived from 285 to 222 BC.

Small wind turbines are used for applications such as battery charging or to power traffic warning signs.

Denmark already had 2500 windmills by 1900.

In the autumn of 1941, the first megawatt-class wind turbine was synchronized to a utility grid in the state of Vermont.

Wind turbines are 20% to 40% efficient at converting wind into energy, meaning that lot of energy gets wasted.

Routine maintenance for wind turbines is required every six months.

Mechanical losses in a wind turbine are mainly due to friction in components such as bearings and gearbox components.

Horizontal axis wind turbine models use three blades, are the most efficient wind turbines.

Wind turbines produce some levels of noise pollution.

Wind turbines affect the visual aesthetics of landscape.

Ideal locations for wind turbines are usually remote locations with powerful winds.

Wind energy is intermittent energy source since wind doesn’t blow all the time.

Energy suppliers need to have alternative sources of power for wind turbines in case the winds die down for longer lengths of time.

Wind turbines are getting taller and bigger.

The average capacity of newly installed U.S. wind turbines in 2021 was 3.0 megawatts (MW).

Wind turbines do not release harmful carbon emissions like fossil fuels do.

Wind turbines  reduce electricity generation from fossil fuels.

Wind turbines do not require water for cooling purposes.

Wind turbines can make between $3000–$10,000 or more per year depending on the size and kilowatt capacity of the turbine.

Wind turbines when coupled with an adequate energy storage device can provide a steady power output.

Each wind turbine needs 80 gallons of oil as lubricant.

Wind turbine industry creates many well paid jobs.

The average salary for a wind turbine technician in the United States is around $56,260 per year.

A wind turbine engineer, also known as a wind energy engineer, is a professional with an engineering degree who works on a wind farm to design and supervise its layout and systems.

Wind turbines are generally considered relatively low maintenance.

Wind turbines are very safe, there are officially only around 12 wind turbine fires reported a year worldwide.

Wind turbines can work in snowy conditions because snow build up isn’t issue for their work.

The generator in wind turbines produces Alternating Current (AC) electricity.

When the anemometer registers wind speeds higher than 55 mph,  it triggers the wind turbine to automatically shut off.

Wind turbines can operate up to minus 22 F (minus 30 degrees Celsius).

The thickness of a wind turbine blade can vary between 2.6mm and 20mm.

The rotational speed of the blades is usually between 30 and 60 revolutions per minute (rpm).

Wind turbines have 3 blades because the angular momentum stays constant as when one blade is up, the other two are pointing at an angle. So the turbine can rotate into the wind smoothly.

Wind turbines are required to have two braking systems, one of which must be aerodynamic.

Most wind turbines need a sustained wind speed of 9 MPH or higher to operate.

Winter is usually the best season for wind power – the winds are stronger, and since air density increases as the temperature drops, more force is pushing on the blades.

The typical wind turbine is 2-3 MW in power, so most turbines cost in the $2-4 million dollar range (2022 data).

Over their lifetime wind turbines will be running continuously for as much as 120,000 hours.

The world’s most powerful wind turbine is the Denmark’s Vestas V236-15.0 MW offshore prototype. It has a rotor diameter of 774 feet (236 meters)  and standing at 919 feet (280 meters), it’s also the world’s tallest wind turbine. A single Vestas V236-15.0MW is capable of producing 80 GWh per year.

If the wind blows too fast it can put major stress on the blades and mechanisms inside the turbine causing lots of friction and long term damage, this is the reason why wind turbines shit down during very powerful winds.

The best locations for wind farms are in coastal areas, at the tops of rounded hills, open plains and gaps in mountains – because wind is strong and reliable at these locations. Hornsea 2, The 1.3GW offshore wind farm comprises 165 wind turbines, located 89km off the Yorkshire Coast is the world’s largest wind farm.

China leads the world in the number of installed wind turbines.

The wind turbines start generating electricity at wind speeds of around 3 metres per second (m/s).

Wind power stocks are likely to become a major fixture in many investors’ share portfolios in years to come.

European countries with the largest number of installed wind turbines are UK, Sweden, Germany, Turkey and the Netherlands.

As of January 2022, the U.S. Wind Turbine Database (USWTDB) contains more than 70,800 turbines.

Texas generates far more energy from wind turbines than any other US state, followed by Iowa, Oklahoma and Kansas.

The US wind turbine industry is still very reliant on imports of wind equipment, especially from China. Domestic manufacturing content is highest for nacelle assembly (>85%), towers (75%–90%), and blades and hubs (50%–70%).

The national Wind Turbine Manufacturing industry is most heavily concentrated in Indiana, California and New York.

There are more than 500 U.S. manufacturing facilities specializing in wind components such as blades, towers, and generators, as well as turbine assembly across the country.

The largest wind power company in the world is Siemens, with a revenue of $77.08 billion.

The Alta Wind Energy Center in California is the largest wind farm in the United States with a capacity of 1,548 MW.

Larger rotor diameters allow wind turbines to sweep more area, capture more wind, and produce more electricity.

In 1980 the world’s first wind farm, consisting of twenty 30 kW wind turbines was installed at Crotched Mountain, in New Hampshire.

There is as decreased housing values for residential dwellings in close proximity to wind farms.

The most common external wind turbine failure is typically damage to the blades caused by bird strikes, lightning strikes, rainfall, blade furniture detachment, delamination, leading-edge corrosion or blade cracks.

The typical wind turbine of 2-3 MW in power has operation and maintenance costs of around $42,000-$48,000 per year.

Smaller wind turbines, for instance 10 KW wind turbine has price of about $28,000 and 100 KW price is about $ 48,000. 

There are two basic types of wind turbines: Horizontal-axis turbines and Vertical-axis turbines.

Wind turbine design generally comprise of a rotor, a direct current (DC) generator or an alternating current (AC) alternator which is mounted on a tower high above the ground.

 The use of three rotor blades in wind turbine allows for a better distribution of mass, which makes rotation smoother and also provides for a “calmer” appearance.

The drivetrain of wind turbine is comprised of the rotor, main bearing, main shaft, gearbox, and generator.

The aerodynamic performance of the wind turbine is better when the tilt angle is about 4°

The generator, gearbox and blades have the highest failure rates of wind turbine. The gearbox failures are mainly caused by gears and bearings; the generator failures are mainly caused by bearings.

Difference between wind turbine and windmill is that windmill converts the kinetic energy of blowing wind into mechanical energy, while a wind turbine converts the kinetic energy of blowing wind into electrical energy.

Wind turbines operate on a simple principle. The energy in the wind turns two or three propeller-like blades around a rotor. The rotor is connected to the main shaft, which spins a generator to create electricity.

Wind farm is basically a group of large wind turbines.

Wind turbines are predominantly made of steel (66-79% of total turbine mass); fiberglass, resin or plastic (11-16%); iron or cast iron (5-17%); copper (1%); and aluminum (0-2%).

Wind turbine towers are 60-75% domestically sourced, blade and hub components are 30-50% domestic, and nacelle assemblies are over 85% domestically sourced.

On average 3,000 turbines have been built in the U.S. each year since 2005.

All of the critical functions of the wind turbine are monitored and supervised from the substation and the control center in order to detect and resolve any incidents.

The wind turbine is automatically oriented to take maximum advantage of the kinetic energy of the wind, from the data registered by the vane and anemometer that are installed at the top.

Land-based wind turbines range in size from 100 kilowatts to as large as several megawatts.

Larger wind turbines are more cost effective and are grouped together into wind farms.

A wind turbine has as many as 8,000 different components.

Wind turbine blades average 200 feet long, and turbine towers average over 300 feet tall—about the height of the Statue of Liberty. 

The U.S. wind industry currently employs about 120,000 people, including 23,600 in manufacturing and 43,400 in construction.

Energy from wind turbines provides more than 20% of total electricity generation in 11 states .

Turbines catch the wind’s energy with their propeller-like blades, which act much like an airplane wing.

The amount of energy which the wind transfers to the rotor depends on the density of the air, the rotor area, and the wind speed.

The power in the wind is given by the following equation: Power (W) = 1/2 x ρ x A x v3. Power = Watts. ρ (rho, a Greek letter) = density of the air in kg/m3. A = cross-sectional area of the wind in m2.

Large numbers of wind turbines are likely to reduce wind speeds.

Friction acts to slow down wind and changes its direction, which results in a chaotic air flow called turbulence. Friction is also what causes wind turbines to spin.

Turbine towers are becoming taller to capture more energy, since winds generally increase as altitudes increase.

For a wind turbine to be 100% efficient, all of the energy available in the wind would be converted into electricity.This is not possible in practice.

More rainfall will result in more erosion of turbine blades.

The closest that a wind turbine is typically placed to a home is 300 meters or more. At that distance, a turbine will have a sound pressure level of 43 decibels. 

New wind turbine designs include a floating, multi-turbine technology for wind farms that could generate five times the annual energy of the world’s largest, single wind turbine.

Wind turbines can sometimes adversely impact the physical environment around them.

Wind turbines can still keep spinning for hours after winds stop or die down.

Currently, fixed foundation offshore wind turbines can be installed up to around 50 metres (160 ft) of sea depth.

Wind turbine syndrome has been characterized as pseudoscience.

The turbine generator voltage is normally classed as ‘low’, in other words below 1,000 V, and is often 690 V. Some larger turbines use a higher generator voltage, around 3 kV, but this is not high enough for economical direct interconnection to other turbines.

Wind turbines have three platforms along the ascent to view other climbers or to take a rest during. Those who work in the wind turbine energy or when a turbine is shut down, have the opportunity to ascend to the top.