Wind power involves the conversion of wind energy to electrical energy. The most common type of technology for utility-scale wind power is a three-blade rotor mounted on a horizontally-oriented shaft. The shaft is connected to a gearbox or direct-drive system that drives an electric generator. Wind power facilities, known as “wind farms,” have multiple wind turbines as well as transformers and other electrical equipment that allow transmission of power to the electricity grid.
Role of Alternative Energy Sources: Wind Technology Assessment
Wind can be an important energy resource for the U.S., but as its contribution to total U.S. electricity generation increases, it will require a significant amount of fossil resources for backup power to maintain grid reliability. Wind power has exhibited significant growth over the last decade, but most of this growth was made possible through financial incentives such as temporary renewable energy tax credits. Technology advances that result in lower project costs and energy storage devices that enable better power reliability remain crucial research and development areas for the long-term integration of wind power.
Authors: Tim Skone, James Littlefield, Robert Eckard, Greg Cooney, Marija Prica, Joe Marriott, PhD
Date: August, 2012
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