This chapter introduces the major concepts of wind-powered electrical generation.


The wind is a natural source of renewable energy. It has been used for thousands of years as a pollution-free way to power windmills and sailboats. Since the 1970s, specialized windmills, called wind turbines, have been built to harness the wind as a source of electrical power. These windmills are typically grouped into wind farms and located in areas exposed to sustained high winds.

Wind is inherently unpredictable. Fast gusts contain far more energy than slow steady breezes. As a result, the wind supplies irregular bursts of power. ...

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