Wind Energy Systems
Lee Layton, P.E.
This course reviews the types of wind turbines, the components of a system, operating characteristics, and how to calculate power output.
Wind resources are reviewed including wind power classes, geography rating methodologies, and the wind resources available in the United States.
Siting and interconnection issues are then reviewed including utility interconnect requirements and environmental concerns.
This course includes a multiple-choice quiz at the end, which is designed to enhance the understanding of the course materials.
After taking this course you should,
This course is intended for anyone who wants to know more about how wind energy can be harnessed to generate electricity.
Benefit to Attendees
This course will help the reader understand the how wind can be harnessed for electric power generation. The reader will learn the components that make up a wind energy system and how the power output is determined.
Wind is one of the lowest cost renewable generation sources. Wind turbines range in size from very small 5 kW units to large utility scaled units of 2-3 megawatts. Wind turbines for utility applications are usually grouped together into large 50-100 MW wind farms.
Of course, wind generators need wind to produce power and lots of it. A large wind generator will require wind speeds of over 25 mph to reach its nameplate output rating.
Wind is a form of solar energy. Winds are caused by the uneven heating of the atmosphere by the sun, the irregularities of the earth's surface, and rotation of the earth. Wind flow patterns are modified by the earth's terrain, bodies of water, and vegetation.
Good wind areas, which cover 6% of the contiguous U.S. land area, have the potential to supply an amount of electricity equal to one and a half times the current electricity consumption of the United States. Of course, this does not mean that wind energy can be used to replace all other forms of electric energy generation. Wind is a variable energy resource and in practical applications will probably never be able to meet more than 20% of the nations electric energy needs.
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Even with the concerns of grid interconnection and electric power system operation, the utility industry is working to find ways to integrate wind energy into electric system operations. The environmental concerns with wind energy can be overcome with careful site selection.
To help the United States meet its energy goals, wind energy must be considered as a viable component of a renewable generation portfolio. It is the lowest cost alternative for renewable power and there are many sites within the United States where the wind is sufficient to support large scale wind projects.