Wind power is the most important new renewable generation technology with close to 300 GW of installed capacity, globally. Most is from onshore wind but the offshore sector is growing rapidly, particularly in Europe. Modern wind turbines are virtually all based on three-blade, horizontal-axis, upwind rotors fixed to the top of tall towers. Many of these use gearboxes to connect the rotor to a generator, but an increasing number dispense with the gearbox and drive the generator directly. Variable-speed generators are becoming common too, increasing efficiency but at a greater cost. Maximum size for an onshore wind turbine is around 3 MW but much bigger machines can be erected offshore. Wind turbines are often built ...
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