Wind-Powered Electric Generators: Transforming Wind into Sustainable Electricity


As we look for greener and more sustainable energy sources, the wind most certainly stands out. More specifically, wind turbines have pushed to the fore as a clear runner-up in the power-to-the-people, clean energy sweepstakes. Wind turbines do not produce any harmful emissions; if they aren’t “compound harmful,” they tie the traditional electric generator in the first round of the power production contest.

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Wind turbines compete and compare favorably with traditional forms of energy production in many other ways, too. Nevertheless, they operate under a set of rather consistent power principles that are easy to restore and rather hard to break. The generator works by a series of clear, yet simple steps.

How Wind-Powered Electric Generators Work

  • At the heart of every wind-powered electric generator lies the wind turbine. These turbines operate on an uncomplicated and yet barely believable principle—if wind can hit something and turn it, that thing can also exact the operation. The forces of physics compel the turbine to make the generator turn. The generator is what ends up putting out the electricity.
  • Harnessing the Wind: Wind turbine blades are shaped to harness the wind’s energy. When the wind blows perpendicular to the blades, it tries to push them forward. But since the blades are mounted on a hub with ball-bearings and a shaft oriented parallel to the ground (much like a drive shaft on a car), the wind can’t blow them forward and can only make them rotate perpendicular to the ground.
  • Transmission: The relatively slow (compared to an internal combustion engine) and high torque of a wind turbine coming directly from its rotor would require a massive and nigh-impossible-to-package speed-increasing gearbox to be efficient in our space-limited generator nacelle.
  • The gearbox makes the generator spin at high speeds. That speed is necessary because it allows the generator to do its job, which is to change mechanical energy into electrical energy.
  • Wind turbines typically produce electric power in the form of alternating current (AC). But what’s produced must be transformed—both to be compatible with the old-fashioned but extremely reliable electrical grid that Ohioanus has already paid for, and to keep the electric power that WE’re now generating from the wind at a more or less CONSTANT price.
  • Connecting to the Grid: Afterward, the electric power is conveyed through an organized network of power lines, which lead to residential, commercial, and industrial buildings that use virtually unlimited amounts of image as well as ubiquitous electric power in daily human activities.

Benefits of Wind-Powered Electric Generators

  • Wind turbines are the most evolved version of wind energy technology. They appeal to both large-scale energy providers and to small operations for several reasons. Compared to the technologies that preceded them and to other renewable energies that have followed, wind turbines hold their own as a most effective solution.
  • From large power plants to individual installations, the energy that wind turbines produce is clean— there are no byproducts to dispose of and no emissions to foul the air. Here are some of the reasons why.
  • Wind energy is a clean and renewable energy source. In the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) “State of the Climate” report for 2010, the U.S. is said to have the capacity to generate 30% of its power from wind alone. The capacity represents the amount of energy potentially available from this source.
  • Economical: Investing in wind turbines might seem like a big deal at first, but they are well worth the initial capital because they have low operating costs. After all, the wind is entirely free, while current maintenance practices are required only irregularly and lightly—and haven’t they resulted at last in getting a significant amount of our electricity?
  • Wind power can help America gain energy independence. Imported fossil fuels cost our economy both money (for the purchase) and influence (because those imported fuels come from countries that are not often our friends). Straight truth: When you use less power from May to October, you reduce consumption; use of power generated offshore during those consumption-reduced months has a rippling effect on the price of power and natural gas declared too costly for power plants; and the fact that you import less of anything – in this case, power and natural gas – keeps more money in the US economy
  • and keeps that money’s velocity more US-centric. Wind is a natural US “crop.”
  • Employment Opportunities: The wind energy sector is emerging as a substantial job creator. Workers fill positions all up and down the supply chain—in the windmill’s design, manufacture, transport, installation, and aftercare. It is not unusual in some parts of the medium- and high-wind resource states like Texas, Iowa, and California for wind farm construction projects to employ hundreds of people over the course of several months.
  • Wind turbines, compared to other types of power plants, take up very little room, themselves. They should not be thought of as enormous vertical propeller axes erected at different places on the land over which they might cast a big shadow. They really shouldn’t. And the reason for that is because even large wind turbines are just a lot smaller than the average power plant.

Applications of Wind-Powered Electric Generators

  • There are many ways to generate electricity using the wind, and they can be separated according to where the wind farm is located and what type of machine it uses.
  • Large Onshore Wind Farms: These are a common sight in many parts of the world and generate a lot of electricity. When the wind blows, the many turbines twirl, and when enough of them twirl for an extended period with the wind at their backs, they generate a whole lot of electricity—pretty reliable, pretty steady.
  • The electricity is gathered by the wind farm’s control center, which, as the photo suggests, might be located among the turbines. The control center can handle the volume of electricity, so it seals the deal by sending the wind farm’s electricity to the grid, where it mixes with a wide variety of other kinds.
  • The control center also helps to manage the electricity that is going out, often using computer programs but also old-school meteorology to keep up with what the wind is going to do next.

The Future of Wind Power

The wind power industry’s future is one to be jealous of. Poorly understood and often maligned, it’s clear that “Elm Street” portrayal is far from reality. There is no question about this: technological changes over the last decade or two have turned wind turbines into a viable platform for converting wind into electricity. Over the same time period during which the oil and gas industry has become the unfortunate newsmaker for contamination, wind power development has paid very few “Iowa” visits to CLEAN Inn.


Wind power has proved that today’s human is as bright as any human of the past and can effectively establish the pathway for future energy development. Many people indeed could be at ease initially hearing of a pathway towards a future where the same, if not much more energy, could be obtained by harvesting a few plants and sunlight at the surface of our planet. But these same people, hearing that pathway to a future where wind, water, sunlight, and a few plants could power our current human system, might understandably look at you like you’ve just stepped out of a futuristic teleportation device. When in actuality, your only future is when you are considered a past denizen of Earth. Windmills are a bona fide age-old operation. They now wear a cloak of sensible modern machinery and develop as age-old operations far into this coming century, as how age-old operations have done before.

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