You are on page 1of 23

The Energy Conversion

A wind turbine is a device for converting the kinetic energy in

wind into the mechanical energy of a rotating shaft.

Energy is the ability to do work

• Energy = Force * Distance

• Electrical energy usually measured in kWh

Kinetic Energy (KE) is the energy of motion

• Air molecules have mass, and wind is moving air, thus it has kinetic
• Wind turbines convert the wind’s kinetic energy into mechanical kinetic
energy through the spinning of the rotor

How much energy is in the wind? And how much of that energy can a wind
turbine convert into useful electrical energy?

Usually that rotating mechanical energy is converted immediately by a generator

into electrical energy. In the large turbines, there is usually a generator on top of
the tower. The generator is connected to the turbine shaft through gears which
turn the generator at a different speed than the turbine shaft. Fancy power
electronic controls convert the electricity into the correct frequency and voltage to
feed into the power grid (probably 60 Hertz or 50 Hertz depending on the country
you live in).

The First Law of Thermodynamics or the principle of conservation of energy

states that the sum of the energy put into the wind turbine plus the remaining
energy in the air after it passes through the turbine must exactly equal the energy
in the wind before it entered the turbine. This energy is the kinetic energy from
the wind's velocity and air density.

The pencil drawing shows the of wind energy that goes into a wind turbine. The

• D = diameter of the turbine blades.

• Blue oval is to show that the circular area of wind swept by the blades is
the area available for producing power.
Kinetic energy is always a function of mass and velocity. So, in order to find out
the amount of energy in the wind, we have to know the wind's velocity as well as
the density of the air.

Density is the mass per unit volume

• Density = Mass / Volume

How to extract power from the wind?

Power is how fast we are producing or using a quantity energy. Power has units
of energy divided by time.

• Power = Energy / Time

• Electrical power usually measured in kW

A Watt is a unit a power. It represents one joule of energy transformed every

second. A 60 Watt light bulb converts 60 joules of energy every second into light
and heat

The formula below shows how to calculate the power available in wind

Variables that determine the wind power blowing into a wind turbine:

• d = air density
• v = wind speed
• D²= cross sectional area swept by rotor (“swept area”)
• C = a constant
Notice that the power in the wind depends on the density of the air, the diameter
of the turbine blades squared (D x D), and the velocity of the wind to the third
power (V x V x V). The constant, C is there because what we are really
interested in is the area swept by the blades of diameter, D. The area is
calculated by multiplying the number Pi (approximately 3.14159) times the
diameter squared divided by 4. So part of the constant, C, is just the constant
number Pi divided by 4 pulled out to show us that the important variable in the
area formula is D.

You have probably noted that power is dependant on the velocity times itself 3
times (V x V x V = V³) In other words, if the wind speed doubles, the power
available from the wind increases by a factor of eight. The diameter is significant
too (D x D = D²) Doubling that increases the power by 4 times.

Faster is better, and bigger is better

The wind doesn't blow all the time in most places and when it blows too hard the
turbine blades can break or spin so fast they break off. During the course of such
an event, the blades are usually "feathered" to reduce stresses on them and to
slow them down. This means we can't take advantage of really high wind speeds.

Turbine Efficiency

It is not possible to convert all of the wind's kinetic energy into mechanical
energy. Some of the wind will either be deflected away right before reaching the
rotor plane or carried away by the air that leaves the turbine; some energy has to
be left in the wind. The "energy out" is the energy converted by the turbine
blades into mechanical energy, plus whatever energy is left in the air after it
passes through the turbine rotors.
Betz Law (Bad news)

In 1919, German physicist Albert Betz figured out that the most you can possibly
get out of wind turbine is around 59% of the power in the wind. This is an
unassailable bit of physics but it is not hard to at least understand why we can
never convert 100% of the wind's power. Imagine a wind energy extraction
machine of 100% efficiency that could take all of the kinetic energy out of the
wind. That would mean the velocity on the "out" or "leaving" or "exit" side of the
turbine blades would be zero, zilch, zed, nothing. There would be neither kinetic
energy nor velocity left in the wind. If the velocity leaving the blades is zero then
the air wouldn't be leaving at all. There would be no air movement, meaning the
air after the blades isn't getting out of the way of the air coming in, which would
mean the fresh air couldn't come in, which would mean there is no air flowing
through the turbine blades, which would mean no power. In order to at least keep
the wind moving through the turbine there has to be some velocity or energy in
the air after going through the blades so that the air can get out of the way of the
air coming through next. Just to keep the machine running at all the efficiency
has to be less than 100%.

Mr. Betz pointed this out and then proceeded to prove, with solid physics and
math, that the best that could be achieved by a wind turbine is around 59%. In
other words, a perfect best-possible wind turbine would be able to convert almost
59% of the power in the wind into mechanical rotating power. But we cannot
achieve perfection, for there are other factors that limit efficiency. For example, it
might not be possible to make the most efficient blade shape strong enough to
hold together during a strong wind. Being able to get power from a stronger wind
is probably worth more than efficiency. On a very windy site, stronger but less
efficient blades might end up getting us more power.

Efficiency varies with wind speed

A given wind turbine has a "design point" that generally defines its peak
efficiency at the wind speed for which the system is designed. At wind speeds
above and below the design speed the efficiency is the same or less. If a
turbine's best efficiency is 40% at a wind velocity of 9 m/s, it will be 40% only at
that wind speed, at all other wind speeds it will be something worse. That wind
turbine will generally operate at lower than its best efficiency, because wind
speeds are never constant or average.

The electrical power actually produced will still be lower because the generator
efficiencies are also a little less than 100%, therefore there are further losses in
the conversion electronics and lines. However, this is common for all power
technologies. When all these losses are figured in, 35% or so of the wind's
energy might actually get delivered as useful electrical energy to the end user in
the very best conditions. However, the average is only be in the 20s.
Variables of efficiency (amount actually converted)

• Q = turbine’s aerodynamic torque

• W = rotor rotational speed
• Betz limit - theoretical maximum

However when calculating, we have to add one more value that is not shown.
That is an efficiency number that would have to supplied by the manufacturer of
the wind turbine. It will not be one number, but a variable that is a function of
wind speed.

Cr is a coefficient and the measure of the aerodynamic efficiency of the wind


Tip-speed Ratio

v Ratio of the linear speed of the tip of the blade to the wind speed

v Linear speed of a rotating object is angular speed x distance from

centre of rotation

Or simply, the rate at which the end of the blades of the wind machine turn in
comparison to how fast the wind is blowing

• l = tip-speed ratio
• R = rotor radius
• w = angular speed
• v = wind speed

Formula: Ratio = linear speed of rotation / wind speed

= wtotal * R / v
High efficiency 3-blade-turbines have tip speed ratios of 6-7. The tip speed ratio
will determine how fast the wind turbine will want to turn and so has implications
for the alternator that can be used.

Modern wind turbines use aluminum and composites in their blades, and this
contributes to low rotational inertia, which means that newer wind turbines can
accelerate quickly if the winds pick up, keeping the tip speed ratio more nearly
constant. Operating closer to their optimal tip speed ratio during energetic gusts
of wind allows wind turbines to improve energy capture from sudden gusts that
are typical in urban settings. In contrast, older style wind turbines were designed
with heavier steel blades, which have higher inertia, and rotated at speeds
governed by the frequency of the power lines. The high inertia buffered the
changes in rotation speed and thus made power output more stable.

Location, placement, position

Wind is simple air in motion. It is caused by the uneven heating

of the earth’s surface by the sun. Since the earth’s surface is
made of very different types of land and water, it absorbs the
sun’s heat at different rates.

During the day, the air above the land heats up more quickly than
the air over water. The warm air over the land expands and rises, and the
heavier, cooler air rushes in to take its place, creating winds. At night, the winds
are reversed because the air cools more rapidly over land than over water.

Operating a wind power plant is not as simple as just building a windmill in a

windy place. Wind plant owners must carefully plan where to locate their
machines. One important thing to consider is how fast and how much the wind

As a rule, wind speed increases with altitude and over open areas with no
windbreaks. Good sites for wind plants are the tops of smooth, rounded hills,
open plains or shorelines, and mountain gaps that produce wind funneling.


Offshore wind development zones are 10km or more from land. They are less obtrusive
than turbines on land as their size and noise can be mitigated by distance. Water also has
less surface roughness than land (especially deep waters), therefore the average wind
speed is usually considerably higher over open water. Utilisation rates (of wind energy)
are higher for on-shore and near-shore locations, which allows offshore turbines to use
shorter towers, making them less visible.

Near-shore turbines are within a zone that is on land 3 km from the shoreline and on
water within 10 km of land. Wind speeds in these zones share wind speed characteristics
of both onshore wind and offshore wind. Sea shores also tend to be windy areas and good
sites for turbine installation, because a primary source of wind is convection from the
differential heating and cooling of land and sea over the course of day and night. Winds
at sea level carry somewhat more energy than winds of the same speed in mountainous
areas because the air at sea level is denser.


Onshore turbine installations in hilly or mountainous regions tend to be on ridgelines

generally 3km or more inland from the nearest shoreline. This is done to exploit the
topographic acceleration where the hill or ridge causes the wind to accelerate as it is
forced over it. The additional wind speeds gained in this way make large differences to
the amount of energy that is produced. Great attention must be paid to the exact positions
of the turbines (a process known as micro-siting) because a difference of 30 m can
sometimes mean a doubling in output. Local winds are often monitored for a year or
more with anemometers and detailed wind maps constructed before wind generators are
For smaller installations, the normal way of prospecting for wind-power sites is to
directly look for trees or vegetation that are permanently "cast" or deformed by the
prevailing winds. Another way is to use a wind-speed survey map, or historical data from
a nearby meteorological station, although these methods are less reliable.
Turbine Design & Construction
Advantages of: Vertical Axis Wind Turbines (VAWT)

1. Easier to maintain because most of their moving parts located near the
2. As the rotor blades are already vertical, a yaw device is not needed to
keep the rotor facing into the wind, reducing the need for this bearing and
its cost.
3. Have a higher airfoil pitch angle, giving improved aerodynamics while
decreasing drag at low and high pressures. Mesas, hilltops, ridgelines and
passes can have higher and more powerful winds near the ground than up
high because of the speed up effect (acceleration) of winds moving up a
slope or funneling into a pass combining with the winds moving directly
into the site. In these places, VAWTs placed close to the ground can
produce more power than HAWTs placed higher up.
4. Low height useful where laws do not permit structures to be placed high.
Smaller VAWTs can be much easier to transport and install.
5. Does not need a free standing tower, therefore less expensive and
stronger in high winds that are close to the ground.
6. Lower Tip-Speed ratio makes it less likely to break in high winds.
Horizontal Axis Wind Turbine

1. Blades are to the side of the turbine's center of gravity, helping stability.
2. Ability to wing warp, which gives the turbine blades the best angle of
attack. Adjusting the angle of attack also gives greater control, so the
turbine collects the maximum amount of wind energy for the time of day
and season.
3. Ability to pitch the rotor blades in a storm, minimising damage
4. Tall tower allows access to stronger wind in sites with wind shear. In some
wind shear sites, every ten meters up, the wind speed can increase by
20% and the power output by 34%. As wind velocity increases at higher
altitudes, energy generation would be greater
5. Tall tower allows placement on uneven land, in offshore locations or even
in forests above the treeline
6. Good starting torque and therefore self-starting

7. Cheaper because of higher production volume, larger sizes, higher

capacity factors and efficiencies
Disadvantages of:

Vertical Axis Wind Turbines (VAWT)

1. Produce energy at only 50% of the efficiency of HAWTs because of the

additional drag when their blades rotate into the wind. (However this can
be overcome by using structures to funnel more and align the wind into
the rotor eg. "stators" on early Windstar turbines or the "vortex" effect of
placing straight bladed VAWTs closely together)

2. There are height limitations to how tall a VAWT can be built and how
much sweep area it can have
3. Most VAWTS need to be installed on a relatively flat piece of land and
some sites could be too steep for them but are still usable by HAWTs
4. Most VAWTs have low starting torque, often requiring external power
source to start its motion
5. Uses guyed wires to hold it in place, putting stress on the bottom bearing
as all the weight of the rotor is on it, making it vulnerable to easy wear and
6. Guyed wires attached to the top bearing also increase downward thrust in
wind gusts, reducing the efficiency of wind harvesting (Solving this
problem requires a superstructure to hold a top bearing in place to
eliminate the downward thrusts of gust events in guyed wired models. All
these in turn need a large amount of finance)
Horizontal Axis Wind Turbines (HAWT)

1. Have difficulty operating in near ground and amidst turbulent winds

because their yaw and blade bearing need smoother, more laminar wind
2. The tall towers and long blades (up to 180 feet long) are difficult to
transport on the sea and on land. Transportation can now cost 20% of
equipment costs.
3. Tall HAWTs are also difficult to install, needing very tall and expensive
cranes and skilled operators.
4. Supply of HAWTs cannot meet increasing demand, resulting in an inflation
of turbine prices by 60%.
5. Tall HAWTs also affects the radar in proximity to air force bases. Their
height can create local opposition based on impacts to viewsheds.
6. Offshore towers can be a navigation problem and must be installed in
shallow seas. HAWTs can't be floated on barges.
7. Its downwind variants often suffer from structural failure caused by wind

It is clean and free! It is not pollute the environment the
way burning fossil fuels and coal does. Wind turbines
also don't produce atmospheric emissions that cause
acid rain or greenhouse gases. In fact, over its life, a
small residential wind turbine can offset approximately
1.2 tons of air pollutants and 200 tons of greenhouse gases (carbon dioxide
and other gases which cause climate change). It is also an endless type of
energy. The wind will exist as long as the sun exists, which is about another
four billion years. Theoretically, if we are able to harness all the wind power
available, there can be ten times of the energy we use readily available.

Wind can provide what is called distributed energy. This means that people
can make wind power on a small scale for their own domestic uses (not
applicable for Singapore though). They can buy a small windmill for as low as
about SG$5000, and this can actually cut down the family's monthly electricity
bills by at least half (the other half is the consumption of electricity of the
heating appliances and air conditioners because they use up a large amount
of energy that the small windmill can not produce. It is not uncommon for wind
turbine owners with total-electric homes to have monthly utility bills of only $8
to $15 for nine months of the year. In northern parts of the country where less
air conditioning is used the bills can be very low year-round. The amount of
money a small wind turbine saves you in the long run will depend upon its
cost, the amount of electricity you use, the average wind speed at your site,
and other factors. This is an advantage because people can choose to build a
windmill near their farms or homes to save electricity but it is impossible to
build a coal plant!

Around the globe, the development of wind energy can help speed up the
expansion of local economies. It provides short-term jobs during the
construction period and also long term jobs for the operation and
maintenance of the windmills. Furthermore, wind energy increases the largely
rural tax basis, and if the facility is locally owned, the return on its investment
has a positive effect on the region as well (benefits economics in the rural
areas, where most wind sites are located). Farmers and ranchers can also
continue to work the land because the wind turbines use only a fraction of the

Since the 80s, the production cost of wind energy has come down by at least
80%; it is one of the lowest-priced renewable energy technologies available
today, costing about 5 cents per kilowatt-hour, depending on the wind
resource and project financing of the particular project.


Wind energy is clean and environmentally-friendly compared to gas and fuels,
but the rotor blades of the windmill do produce some noise, leading to noise
pollution. Also, some birds may be killed if they happen to fly into the rotors


Windmills may also have a negative visual impact. In areas where there is
population and perhaps natural beauty, the towers and rotors can be
obtrusive and may destroy the aesthetic appeal.


One big problem of wind energy is that wind is not always readily available; it
is a variable source of energy. Wind is intermittent and it does not always
blow when electricity is needed. Even the most advanced machinery may not
be of much use when predicting weather and wind conditions. Furthermore,
wind energy, unlike solar energy, cannot be stored (unless batteries are
used). Therefore, in areas where a large amount of wind energy is needed,
one cannot depend completely on wind, and may need to look into their
renewable energies such as solar energy just in case of calm conditions when
you will not get any power. Many critics have been speculating if wind energy
is reliable in areas with high demands.

Wind power will also have to compete with conventional generation sources
(fossil fuels, coal and natural gas) on a cost basis. Depending on how
energetic a wind site is, the wind farm may or may not be cost competitive.
Even though the cost of wind power has already decreased a lot in the past
10 years, the technology still requires a higher input than fossil-fueled
Turbines, turbines more turbines

The Rotor

Every wind turbine has a rotor or propeller with blades which harvest the energy
from the wind. The rotor is connected to a hub which in turn is connected to the
main drive shaft. The drive shaft connects to the generator which generates the

The rotor blades are usually made of plastic, fiberglass or wood covered with an
epoxy or urethane coating. The type of blade that is used in the rotor is different
depending upon the type of work you want the rotor to do. In a Drag Design
Blade the blades are designed to be pushed by the wind rather than lifted.
These types of designs cause the rotor to turn slower but with more force or
torque. This type of blade is well suited to work such as pumping, sawing or
milling and is the type of blade you might find in a Dutch windmill or in a farm-
type windmill used for irrigation.

However, for generating electricity you need a rotor which turns at very high
speeds so modern electricity generating wind turbines do not use this type of

Today's wind turbines use what is known as a Lift Design. These types of blades
use the same principle of lift as you would see in an airplane. The rotor blade
edge is similar to that of an airplane wing and creates lift because of
the differential air pressure between the flat side and the rounded side of
the blade.
However, since the blade is turned at an angle the lift causes the blade to turn
rather than rise. Lift-powered wind turbines have much higher rotational speeds
than drag types and therefore are well suited for electricity generation.

One of the questions people often ask is why do wind turbines only have 2 or 3
blades. The reason is that number of blades that make up a rotor and the total
area they cover affect wind turbine performance. Rotors that use the lift-principle
need for the wind to flow smoothly over the blade. If the blades are too close
together the turbulence from one blade can disrupt the flow of air to the blade
next to it. So the blades must be far enough apart given there overall size so that
this does not happen.

Another factor that is looked at in rotor design is what is called the Tip Speed
Ratio, the tip being the tip of each blade on the rotor. The larger this ratio, the
faster the rotation of the wind turbine rotor at a given wind speed. Lift-type wind
turbines have maximum tip-speed ratios of around 10, while drag-

type ratios are approximately 1. The tips of a wind turbine rotor can reach

speeds of up to 300 mph. Since electrical generators require the shaft to turn

at a high speed, high tip speed ratios are needed.

Types of Wind Turbines

Horizontal Axis (more efficient!)

This is the most common wind turbine design. In addition to being parallel to the
ground, the axis of blade rotation is parallel to the wind flow. Some machines are
designed to operate in an upwind mode, with the blades upwind of the tower. In
this case, a tail vane is usually used to keep the blades facing into the wind.
Other designs operate in a downwind mode so that the wind passes the tower
before striking the blades. Without a tail vane, the machine rotor naturally tracks
the wind in a downwind mode.

Vertical Axis

Although vertical axis wind turbines have existed for centuries, they are not as
common as their horizontal counterparts. The main reason for this is that they do
not take advantage of the higher wind speeds at higher elevations above the
ground as well as horizontal axis turbines. The basic vertical axis designs are the
Darrieus, which has curved blades, the Giromill, which has straight blades, and
the Savonius, which uses scoops to catch the wind. A vertical axis machine need
not be oriented with respect to wind direction. Because the shaft is vertical, the
transmission and generator can be mounted at ground level allowing easier
servicing and a lighter weight, lower cost tower. Although vertical axis wind
turbines have these advantages, their designs makes it difficult to mount on
towers, meaning they must operate in the often slower, more turbulent air flow
near the ground, resulting in lower energy extraction efficiency.


Grid Connected Systems

The size, or generating capacity, of a wind turbine for a particular installation

depends on the amount of power needed and on the wind conditions at the site.
It is unrealistic to assume that all your energy needs can be met economically by
wind energy alone. As a general rule, a wind system should be sized to supply
25% to 75% off your energy requirements. Most residential applications require a
machine capacity of between 1 and 10 kW.

In a grid-connected system excess electricity from the wind turbine is

automatically fed to the utility and backup power is automatically supplied. While
this does not constitute true storage, it provides power on demand at any time, in
any amount. One of the major advantages of this approach is that batteries are
not needed to store the power. In essence the grid acts somewhat like a battery
providing power whenever your wind turbine is generating insufficient electricity
to meet your needs. On windy days when you are generating more energy than
you can use this energy fed into the grid and your power meter runs backwards
giving you credit for the energy you are generating.

Off-Grid Systems

Off-grid power systems can result in higher cost energy, but the high cost of
extending a power line to a remote location often makes an independent energy
system the most cost effective choice for remote homes and equipment. If the
average wind speeds at a location are greater than 12 mph, a wind turbine may
provide the least expensive form of energy. Because wind is intermittent, it is
often used in conjunction with batteries or with other energy sources, such as a
gas generator or solar electric panels, to make a hybrid system. Battery systems
can supply the owner with reserve power whenever energy demand exceeds that
delivered by the wind turbine. This reserve power comes in handy during calm
spells, but in situations where the storage capacity is taxed beyond its limits, a
backup system, such as a portable gasoline or diesel generator, may be
necessary. By combining two or more sources of energy, the size of energy
storage can be decreased.
Developments of Wind Turbines
Development of Maglev Wind Turbines

• use full-permanent magnets to nearly eliminate friction by "floating" the

blades above the base. According to developers, the technology is
capable of scaling to massive sizes and convert larger volumes of wind
• a proposed $53M turbine able enough to replace 1000 traditional
windmills and power 750 thousand homes|
• Additional benefits include :
o the ability to generate power with winds as slow as three miles per
o operational costs some 50 percent cheaper than windmills,
o and an estimated lifespan of 500 years.

That all sounds great, but the real proof will come when they are eventually put to
use. Development is proceeding rapidly in both the US and China, with Chinese
power company Zhongke Hengyuan Energy Technology currently building a $5M
factory to produce the turbines in capacities from 400 to 5,000 watts. Overall, a
Maglev wind turbine is 1000x more efficient than normal wind turbines

Development of Diminutive Wind Turbines

Generally speaking, wind turbines have been used for more macro-scale
operations, such as supplying houses, industries and whole commercial buildings
with electricity.
However the most recent progression of wind turbines now includes "a way
(where wind turbines are able to) generate electricity for homes using wind power

• This residential approach utilizes a modular turbine that is minuscule

enough to perch atop nearly any roof without causing too much
unsightliness, and can create power for the house to consume as the wind
pushes its blades.
• Additionally, the Australian inventor suggests solar panels could also be
used in conjunction with his creation, giving double the renewable energy
opportunities (at least during the day)

Currently, the device is being funded by the Australian government and could be
ready for commercialisation next year

Following rapid proceedings on the residential and intensive use of wind turbines,
more wind energy can be generated even during unpredictable weather, and the
use of a single Maglev turbines would be able to save 53 900 acres of land by
replacing a traditional wind farm. Diminutive wind turbines would also ensure the
conservation of energy in every household and would give residents a stake in
the bid to accommodate our needs via environmental-friendly means.

Wind Energy Physics

Physics and the environment

Understanding the science behind wind harvesting:

Since air has mass (1.23Kg/cubic meter), its motion can exert sizeable forces as
its momentum is stopped or slowed down. The momentum transfer can be used
to rotate propeller style wind sails, often called wind turbines. The rotating turbine
is connected to an electrical generator through a gear box: Most generator
systems are synchronised to the utility grid so the generators spin at a constant

To compensate for different wind conditions most systems have variable pitch
propellers that can capture more or less wind forces. Some wind generator also
have gearboxes that have variable input vs output gear ratios, as another way to
deal with different wind speed conditions.

The better machines carefully measure the wind speed and make corrections to
the propeller blades and the gearbox to maintain maximum mechanical to
electrical conversion efficiency. The minimum speed that a wind turbine can
begin producing useful electricity is called the cut-in speed. Many systems have
a typical 10 mph cut-in speed requirement. (As stated in the previous post,
technology has now enabled us to go beyond initial proposed limits)

As a precautionary measure, the wind speed exceeds a certain level, wind

turbines would disconnect their generators from the power grid and rotate the
propellers to a feather position to prevent damage to the turbine. The cut-out
speed of many systems is around 50 or 60 mph.
Wind Energy
Renewable energy vs nonrenewable energy:

The world's supply of fossil fuels (including oil, coal and natural gas) is gradually
being depleted due to constant use. These fossil fuels are finite sources which
are not renewable; they can not be created again. Therefore, over the years
countries have stressed on renewable energy resource research. Renewable
energies are infinite; there will always be enough for us no matter how much
energy we use. Furthermore, renewable energies are much friendlier to the
environment than nonrewable energies. Unlike fossil fuels, which dirties the
atmosphere, renewable energy are clean and does not contribute to global
warming and ozone layer depletion.

Wind energy:

Wind energy (kinetic energy from the wind) can be converted to other useful
energy forms such as electricity, through wind turbines. It is a clean,
inexhaustible energy source which has been rapidly developing over the past 25
years. In fact, the global wind power generation increased more than fivefold
between 2000 and 2007. Large, advanced wind turbines can operate in wind
farms to produce electricity for utilities while small turbines in remote farms and
villages can help meet villagers' daily energy needs. For example, farmers in
Holland have been using windmills to pump water from wells.

Statistics (development):
Wind power is one of the fatest growing forms of renewable energies in the 21st
century. Wind energy currently produces just over 1% of global electricity
generation, but it accounts for about 19% of electricity in Denmark, 9% in Spain
and Portugal, and 6% in Germany (as of 2007).

Germany: Leading producer of wind power. produces 28% of total wind power (a
total output of 38.5TWh in 2007) and wind energy accounts for 6.3% of german
electricity. Aims to meet 12.5% of country's electrical needs by 2010, or even
sooner. Currently, Germany has 18600 wind turbines (mostly in the North),
including three of the largest in the world.

Denmark: generates nearly 1/5 of its electricity using wind turbines (highest
percentage of any country, and is the fifth in the world in wind power generation.)
It aims to eventually produce half of country's electrical energy by wind.

United States: rapidly developing country's wind power generation (is currently
third in the world). Its wind power capacity grew by 45% to 16.8 gigawatts last
year, and currently Texas is the largest wind every producing state, ahead of
California. US is able to meet the electrical needs of 250 households today.

By 2010, the World Wind Energy Association expects 160GW of capacity to be

installed worldwide, up from 73.9 GW at the end of 2006, implying an anticipated
net growth rate of more than 21% per year.
Wind turbine:

The first known windmill was built as early as 250 BC. The rotating windmill
blades turn the generator shaft to profuce electricity. Most wind turbines are of
the traditional horizontal axis type. Later designs uses a vertical axis which is
insensitive to wind direction, thus more efficient. A windmill has 2 to 3 propeller-
like blades mounted on a rotor to generate electricity. Wind turbines usually sit at
30m above ground to take advantage of the stronger and less turbulent wind.
Bigger windmills can produce more electrical energy as compared to small ones.


Wind energy is a free and renewable source of energy which does not pollute our


Wind power generated may not be constant for the wind velocity tends to vary.
The presence of strong winds is subjected to the time of the year. On the other
hand, very strong winds may also wreck the windmills. Therefore, wind energy is
unreliable as it is uncontrollable. Furthermore, wide open spaces are needed to
accommodate the windmills.

Wind energy in Singapore:

As Singapore has land constraints and does not have much open space, only
small windmills can be found in Singapore. Wind energy in Singapore is quite an
impossible development due to the lack of strong winds and open space.
Changi naval base has mini windmills sitting on street lamps to produce electrical
energy to operate the lamps.
Singapore Polytechnic has a mindmill too, producing energy for one of its