Wind turbines capture the energy of moving air and convert it to electricity. The turbines are installed on towers, to access higher and more constant wind speeds. When the wind passes over the blades of the turbine, it causes the rotor to turn, which then spins a shaft. The shaft turns gears and a generator, which produces the electrical current. Cables carry the current down the tower to a substation, then to transmission lines that carry it to local homes and businesses, or to the electrical grid. Wind turbines range in size from a few hundred watts to 3-5 MW.
Three main factors influence how much electricity a turbine will generate: Wind speed, blade radius and air density. Stronger winds produce more energy. The turbines are designed for wind speeds between 14 and 90 km/h but if the wind blows too fast, a brake automatically stops the turbine to prevent damage to the equipment. Longer blades produce more power. Finally, “heavier” air, such as the air found at sea level, drives the rotor more efficiently. At higher altitudes air is “lighter”, with lower air pressure, and provides less lift and power to the blades.
Below are some initial questions you should ask yourself if your community is interested in pursuing wind. Truly pursuing a project requires much more detail and research.
Use the map below to see existing projects wind projects that include Indigenous participation. Click on a map dot to learn more about the projects.
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