What is it?
Wind energy results from taking advantage of the kinetic energy in wind to produce mechanical energy, which is then transformed into electrical energy by a generator. Wind has been used for thousands of years to meet the energy needs of human activities, namely to propel means of transportation (sail boats and ships), pump water or allow industrial activities to take place.
Wind energy is a way of obtaining electricity using 100% clean sources, which keeps any type of pollutant from being produced. Wind energy is a renewable energy source obtained through solar energy – in other words, it has its origin in the heating of the atmosphere by the Sun, which puts air masses in movement. The Earth’s rotation, and the form and cover of the Earth’s surface and bodies of water, influence the speed, direction and variability of the wind in any given spot.
Wind energy has increasingly come to be used to produce electricity, both for local, decentralized use in isolated places and in large wind farms made up of a number of wind turbines connected to the electricity grid.
Wind Generating Electricity
The figure represents the profile of a wind turbine blade on the horizontal axis, which is similar to an airplane wing. When the wind blows, the wind turbine blade’s geometry forces the flow of air to change direction along the surface, creating a difference in pressure, resulting in aerodynamic forces on the blade structure that unleash torque, making the blade spin. As the wind speed is not constant, the turbine is designed to operate within a specific operational velocity range, and the pitch potential control system ensures that the maximum speed able to be supported is never exceeded so as to guarantee that there are never overloads or undue wear of the equipment.
The blades are connected through an axle to a gearbox whose function is to transform the low rotation of the blades triggered by the wind into high operational rotation levels that will be delivered to the electrical generator attached to the same axle.
The rotational movement that is multiplied upon leaving the gearbox also enters the generator through an axle. The generator uses the rotations of the axle (mechanical movement) to produce electricity through electromagnetism.
Wind Generating Electricity
All of the electricity produced in the wind generator’s terminals is brought up to the same voltage range as the grid by a transformer before being sent to the substation, which represents the interface between the wind farm and the concessionary’s electricity grid. At the substation, all of the electricity is monitored by the grid analysis system, by the protection system, by the metering system and by the SCADA system.
Once the operational conditions in terms of electricity voltage and frequency are guaranteed, the energy is injected into the grid through the transmission line. The final transformation posts bring the tension down to 220 Volts, thus allowing it to be distributed to consumers in the form we use it on a daily basis.
In our region, the predominant winds come from a northeasterly direction, and the wind regime is good throughout the year, making wind energy a feasible alternative for the production of clean and sustainable energy.