A wind turbine is a device that converts kinetic energy from the wind into electricity. The blades of a wind turbine turn between 13 and 20 revolutions per minute, depending on their technology, at a constant or variable velocity, where the velocity of the rotor varies in relation to the velocity of the wind in order to reach a greater efficiency.
Wind turbines have an average life of over 25 years, although the most widespread accounting criterion is set for periods of 20 years. Rapid evolution of wind technology has lead to an increase in the durability of wind turbines.
How do wind turbines produce energy? The functioning of a wind turbine can be explained in function of the following phases:
The wind turbine is automatically oriented to take maximum advantage of the kinetic energy of the wind, from the data registered by the vane and anemometer that are installed at the top. The nacelle turns around a crown located at the end of the tower.
The wind makes the blades turn, which start to move with wind speeds of around 3.5 m/s and provide maximum power with a wind speed 11 m/s. With very strong winds (25 m/s), the blades are feathered and the wind turbine slows down in order to prevent excessive voltages.
The rotor (unit of three blades set in the hub) turns a slow axis that is connected to a gear box that lifts the turning velocity from 13 to 1,500 revolutions per minute.
The gearbox transfers its energy through a fast axis that is connected to the generator, which produces the electricity.
The energy generated runs through the inside of the tower to the base. From there, the energy runs over an underground line to the substation, where its voltage is raised in order to inject it into the electrical grid and distribute it to the points of consumption.
All of the critical functions of the wind turbine are monitored and supervised from the substation and the control center in order to detect and resolve any incidents.