Panoramic view of the Whitelee wind farm with Lochgoin Reservoir in the foreground. Date:24 October 2010 Source: Wikipedia Author: Bjmullan

Panoramic view of the Whitelee wind farm with Lochgoin Reservoir in the foreground.
Date: 24 October 2010 – Source: Wikipedia – Author: Bjmullan

NOTE: This is a language guide, not a thesis on wind turbines. My hope is that it will help those of you whose first language is not English to be able to discuss, or write about, wind power.
You can’t have failed to notice strange new trees growing up in windy places. They are usually white and only have three branches, and their trunks are straight and clean. They go by several names, but windmills and wind turbines are two of the most common. Wind power has been utilised for varous purposes, like pumping, irrigation and milling, for over two thousand years, but the first electricity-generating wind turbine was a battery charging machine installed in July 1887 by Scottish academic James Blyth to light his holiday home in Marykirk, Scotland (Wikipedia). There have been many designs of electricity generating windmills, but I shall concentrate on the horizontal axis, three-bladed type, pictured above, which have become the most common.

So, everyone knows what they do – they make electricity from the wind,  but exactly how do they do it? First of all, let’s take a look at the component parts of a typical turbine.

Schematic diagram of a modern horizontal-axis, three-bladed wind turbine Date30 November 2006 Author: Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy - public domain Permission

Schematic diagram of a modern horizontal-axis, three-bladed wind turbine
Date: 30 November 2006 – courtesy of Wikipedia
Author: Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy – public domain

So, whatever the size of our horizontal-axis wind turbine, it must face into the wind in order for it to work. Very small turbines achieve this by having a big wind vane at the back, just like the one on the anemometer (wind-speed meter) in the drawing above, only much bigger. However, on larger models this is impractical as the vane would have to be absurdly large. However, whatever the design of any major wind turbine, the list of components remains pretty much the same, although their positions may differ. Here follows a description of the main parts and how they work …READ MORE