Major U.S. corporations such as Wal-Mart Stores Inc (WMT.N) and General Motors Co (GM.N) have become some of America’s biggest buyers of renewable energy, driving growth in an industry seen as key to helping the United States cut carbon emissions.
America’s first offshore wind farm just helped to shut down a small diesel-fired electric power plant on Block Island, Rhode Island.
Block Island officials on Monday switched on a connection between the island and a cable linking the wind farm to Rhode Island’s mainland power grid.
Last year, while overall U.S. jobs grew at a sluggish 1.8 percent, jobs in America’s wind industry grew 16.5 percent — nine times faster. By the end of 2016, U.S. wind employment hit a record-high 102,500 jobs, reaching all 50 states. By 2020, U.S. wind jobs are expected to more than double, to a quarter million, including jobs in communities near wind farms and factories.
Image: Vestas Wind Technicians Chris Marsh, Will Osborn, both veterans, join Vestas Site Manager Brad Haupert (2nd to 4th on left), other wind workers to launch 2016 U.S. Wind Industry Annual Market Report.
Wind turbines are machines which rotate and use ‘kinetic energy’ of the wind and convert it into ‘mechanical energy’ If this ‘mechanical’ energy is directly utilized by the wind turbines’ pump or grinding stones, this machine is called a ‘windmill’. When the ‘mechanical’ energy is changed into electricity, the machinery is called a ‘wind generator’. This type of machinery can also be known as a ‘wind turbine’ a ‘wind energy converter’ or a ‘wind power’ unit.
There are two well-known types of wind turbines:Horizontal axis: These wind turbines will rotate with the main components (electrical generator unit and rotor shaft) on the top portion of a tower. These components must be directed into the force of wind.
Bigger turbines have all types of sensors and motor components. Gearbox pieces are part of the horizontal axes’ turbine. The blades are rotated at a faster rate with gearboxes. More efficient and powerful energy is available for the electricity components.
When the force of the wind is at the back of a tower, it will use the turbulence. When this occurs, the turbines are faced up wind of the tower. So that the turbine blades won’t break the tower from gale forces, the blades are build in a rigid manner. Often they are placed at a greater distance facing the front of the tower and have degrees’ tilt into the wind.
Even though turbulence can cause issues, the ‘down’ wind machines are constructed. These blades won’t need more parts to ensure that they are in the direction of the wind. When turbine blades bow with gale winds, the resistance is reduced greatly.
Turbines that have their rotor shafts arranged in a vertical fashion are often called ‘vertical wind turbines’. The vertical turbines don’t have to be directed towards the wind to allow for large amounts of usable energy. Often, the wind directions will change so these wind turbines are perfect.
These vertical turbines have the parts positioned closer to the ground. These important parts are the generator and the gearbox. So it isn’t imperative for the turbine to be supported by the tower. Maintaining this turbine is easy but being aware of any pulsing movements which can cause wear and tear.
Near the ground, the air flow can be turbulent which can causes vibrations. Noises and wear on the bearings could decrease the life of the turbine and increase the maintenance. Often, when a turbine is placed on a roof, the wind is re-directed by the structure; sometimes these can double the speed of the turbine. When the rooftops’ height is 50% of the buildings’, a mounted turbine will be able to produce maximum energy from the wind and have a minimum of turbulence.