Wind Technology Today, Tomorrow and Beyond

By   August 19, 2015

Wind TechnologyWind technology uses energy from the wind for useful purposes like charging batteries, generating electricity, grinding grain and pumping water. In most cases, wind technology is used in stand-alone applications and may be connected to a power grid or shared with a photovoltaic system.

A significant number of turbines are built near each other for wind energy sources on the utility-scale, forming a wind farm, making it a provider of a power grid. Today there are many electricity providers that are using wind farms for the power that is supplied to their customers.

Stand-alone turbines are usually used for communications or water pumping. On the other hand though, farmers and homeowners in areas that are windy can use smaller scale wind technology systems for generating the electricity they need.

The federal government has established a Wind Program and along with partners in the wind technology industry, in an effort to increase the performance of wind technology, making it more reliable as well as more affordable. To ensure wind technology growth into the future, it is known that that technology has to keep evolving and building on the successes achieved so far.

Developing A PROTOTYPE of wind technology pieces

The wind turbines of today are more and more cost-effective as well as more reliable. They are now built where they offer power rating of multi-megawattage. The wind technology today has developed lighter, longer rotor blades, more reliable drive trains, taller towers and control systems with performance-optimization. Additionally, improved turbine performance has given us a domestic wind technology industry that is more robust and has seen the export of wind turbine technology grow.

DEVELOPMENT of components

The performance and the reliability of wind technology improve with the program work and industry partners working together. For example, the wind program worked with Knight and Carver’s Wind Blade Division from California to develop a wind turbine that was innovative and led to the increase of energy capture by more than 10%.  The wind program has also worked along with other companies to support the development of reliable gearboxes and to design and test other innovations in drive-train concepts.

Turbine UTILITY-SCALE RESEARCH

In 2009, a GE 1.5-MW wind turbine was installed at the NWTC(National Wind Technology Center) in Colorado, making it the first wind turbine of a large-scale that was fully owned by the DOE (Department of Energy) and it serves as a platform for other research projects that are aimed to improve wind technology performance while lowering wind energy costs.