Finally, after long months of papers, documents and hard work, our wind turbine has been installed at The Valley of the Moon.
Wind power, used in the past for the rotation of the windmill, is now used for generating electricity. Arrays of large turbines, known as wind farms, are becoming an increasingly important source of intermittent renewable energy and are used by many countries as part of a strategy to reduce their reliance on fossil fuels. Wind was shown to have the “lowest relative greenhouse gas emissions, the least water consumption demands and… the most favourable social impacts” compared to photovoltaic, hydro, geothermal, coal and gas (Evans et al., 2009).
A wind turbine or aerogenerators converts the kinetic energy of the wind into electricity without the use of any fuel and passing through the stage of conversion into mechanical energy carried by the blades.
Our turbine was built by an american company named Northern Power Systems Inc and is 36.6 meters high. The turbine is a “lift” machine which means that the wind flowing on both faces of the blade, which have different geometric profiles, thus creating in correspondence of the upper surface area of a depression with respect to the pressure on the lower face.
The main advantages of wind farms can be summarized as:
- distributed generation;
- efficient conversionof wind energy into electrical energy (theoretical yield of 59%);
- absence ofemission of polluting substances;
- saving of fossil fuels;
- reducedoperating costs (there is no charge for the supply of fuel) and maintenance;
- easydismantling of the wind turbines at the end of life (20-25 years);
- production capacityof the aerogenerators varies from a few hundred to a few Watt to some MWatt, meeting the needs of both individual homes, and industrial use or placing on thegrid (through wind power stations).
In order to harness the kinetic energy of the wind and converts it into electrical energy available to feed into the grid or to power loads in parallel, a wind turbine uses a variety ofmechanical and electrical components. In particular, the rotor (blades and hub) extracts energy from the wind and convert it into mechanical energy and constitutes the “prime mover”dell’aerogeneratore, while the conversion of mechanical energy into electricity is carried out by an electrical generator in accordance with appropriate configurations .
In summary, the main components that make up a wind turbine with a horizontal axis are:
- blade support;
- Pitch angle actuator;
- main support;
- main shaft;
- aircraft warning lights ;
- mechanical brakes;
- hydraulic cooling devices;
- power converter and electrical control, protection and disconnection devices;
- frame of the nacelle;
- supporting tower;
- yaw driving device.