The past decade has seen a significant push for cleaner energy sources. While solar is the most popular form of renewable energy, the U.S. and other countries heavily invest in wind energy. Harnessing it requires extensive time and resources because the turbines can be massive. What goes into creating them? What advantages do you get when building them?
Table of Contents
What Goes Into the Creation of Wind Turbines?
Building a wind turbine requires more than a few days of planning and construction. Much care and logistics go into their creation. Here are five steps you’ll typically see in the process.
1. Finding a Location
Your primary concern in locating your turbine spot is the wind speed. The Midwest and Great Plains are ideal due to their high wind speeds year-round. The five states producing the most wind energy include Texas, Kansas, Oklahoma, Illinois and Iowa.
Larger wind turbines are necessary if you’re producing power for many people. Whether on a wind farm or the ocean, these structures typically have between 1 and 3 megawatts. Turbines with this amount of energy can easily power hundreds of homes and office buildings annually.
2. Determining the Size
Another factor you must consider when constructing a wind turbine is its size. This can vary significantly, depending on your needs. For example, the Department of Energy says a single-family home using 300 kilowatt-hours monthly will need a 1.5-kilowatt turbine if the average wind speed is at least 14 mph.
Larger wind turbines are necessary if you’re producing power for a lot of people. Whether on a wind farm or the ocean, these structures typically have between 1 and 3 megawatts. Turbines with this amount of energy can easily power hundreds of homes and office buildings all year.
3. Ensuring Environmental Compliance
Before building, it’s essential to ensure the turbine and its construction don’t harm the surrounding environment. While wind turbines bring cleaner energy, they can be destructive if developers don’t plan accordingly.
For example, blades can disrupt local ecosystems by killing birds that accidentally fly too close. Wind turbines can also damage the environment through habitat loss because planners may need to clear the land before construction.
Fires are another concern with wind turbines, although these occurrences are rare. They can catch fire due to electrical issues within the structure or a lightning strike. Employing fire-resistant materials and maintenance schedules is essential for avoiding these catastrophes.
4. Gathering the Materials
Wind turbines require abundant resources in construction due to their size. The primary material you’ll need when constructing a turbine is steel. The United States Geological Survey says steel comprises between 66% and 79% of the total turbine mass, depending on the make and model you use. The other necessary materials include fiberglass, resin and iron.
As turbine technology advances, these renewable energy sources have become more efficient in their materials and operations. More wind turbines are using stainless steel because of its 10% chromium compound, increasing its durability and resistance to corrosion. Chromium provides a passive oxide layer that acts as protection from rust.
5. Constructing the Turbine
Once the builder acquires their materials, it’s time to begin construction. A wind turbine has numerous parts and pieces, but the primary ones you’ll focus on are the foundation, tower, generator, rotor, drivetrain and gearbox.
First, the team must lay the foundation in a spot with high wind speeds. The foundation may require leveling to ensure even ground for the wind turbine. Then, you’ll erect the tower and bolt it into place. Large turbines require a crane due to their hefty weight.
Next, you’ll assemble the individual components of the wind turbine. The generator, also known as the nacelle, is the most crucial part of this assembly because it’s the heart of the structure and contains the gearbox. After the generator, you’ll install the blades and any other electrical components necessary for operations.
What Are the Advantages of Creating Wind Turbines?
Wind turbines are a growing renewable energy source in the United States. What makes them popular in the Great Plains and nationwide? Here are some advantages of creating wind turbines:
- Clean energy: The primary benefit of using wind turbines is utilizing clean energy. Wind is renewable, decreases reliance on fossil fuels and diversifies renewable energy sources to meet demand.
- Meeting goals: The Paris Climate Accord has led numerous nations to set goals regarding carbon emissions. Increasing wind energy usage is a significant step toward these accomplishments.
- Creating jobs: While they may require a considerable investment, wind turbines create jobs worldwide. The Bureau of Labor Statistics says about 85,000 Americans work in wind power, and the field is only growing with sustainability calls.
Creating Wind Turbines for a Healthier Future
Renewable energy is crucial for the world moving forward. One significant step in getting there is creating wind turbines and taking advantage of the planet’s natural resources. Construction requires careful planning and significant investments, but the benefits are worth the time and effort.
Jack Shaw is the senior lifestyle writer at Modded with a special interest in covering concerns of health, family, and relationships. You’ll often find him exploring nature or playing with his dogs in his free time.