A wind farm or wind park also called a wind power station or wind power plant is a group of wind turbines in the same location used to produce electricity. Wind farms vary in size from a small number of turbines to several hundred wind turbines covering an extensive area. Wind farms can be either onshore or offshore.
Wind farms are areas in which many large wind turbines have been grouped together. You “harvest” the power of the wind. These big turbines look a bit like super tall windmills.
In a large wind farm, hundreds of wind turbines can be distributed over hundreds of kilometers. The land between the turbines can be used for other purposes, such as regular farming. Some wind farms are also located near bodies of water. There they use winds that blow over lakes or oceans.
Did you know that wind energy is actually another form of solar energy? The shape and rotation of the earth affect the uneven heating of the atmosphere by the sun to create winds.
Wind farms are set up in areas that are known to be particularly windy on a regular basis. The winch turns the blades of the turbines. Then the turbines convert the wind’s energy into mechanical power. Generators then convert the mechanical power into electricity. This electricity is then used to power households.
You can think of a wind turbine as the opposite of a fan. A fan uses electricity to generate wind. Wind turbines do the opposite: they use the wind to generate electricity! When the wind turns the blades of a wind turbine, the blades cause a shaft to turn. The rotating shaft is connected to a generator that generates electricity.
Types Of Wind Farm
There are Two types of wind farm
- Horizontal-axis turbines
- Vertical-axis turbines
The size of wind turbines varies widely. The length of the blades is the biggest factor in determining the amount of electricity a wind turbine can generate. Small wind turbines that can power a single home may have an electricity generating capacity of 10 kilowatts (kW). The largest wind turbines in operation have electricity generating capacities of up to kilowatts (10 megawatts), and larger turbines are in development. Large turbines are often grouped together to create wind power plants, or wind farms, that provide power to electricity grids.
Horizontal-axis turbines are similar to propeller airplane engines:
Horizontal-axis turbines have blades like airplane propellers, and they commonly have three blades. The largest horizontal-axis turbines are as tall as 20-story buildings and have blades more than 100 feet long. Taller turbines with longer blades generate more electricity. Nearly all of the wind turbines currently in use are horizontal-axis turbines.
Vertical-axis turbines look like egg beaters:
Vertical-axis turbines have blades that are attached to the top and the bottom of a vertical rotor. The most common type of vertical-axis turbine—the Darrieus wind turbine, named after the French engineer Georges Darrieus who patented the design in 1931—looks like a giant, two-bladed egg beater. Some versions of the vertical-axis turbine are 100 feet tall and 50 feet wide. Very few vertical-axis wind turbines are in use today because they do not perform as well as horizontal-axis turbines.
Wind power plants, or wind farms, produce electricity:
Wind farms are clusters of wind turbines that produce large amounts of electricity. A wind farm usually has many turbines scattered over a large area. One of the United States’ largest wind farms is the Horse Hollow Wind Energy Center in Texas, which at the end of 2020, had 422 wind turbines spread over about 47,000 acres. The project has a combined electricity generating capacity of about 735 megawatts (or 735,000 kilowatts).