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Energy and Power Generation Handbook: Established and Emerging Technologies

K. R. Rao
K. R. Rao
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ASME Press
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Humans have been harnessing the energy in the wind for several thousand years. Early uses included sailboats and windmills used to pump water and grind grain into flour — hence the term wind mill. In the 1800s, settlers in the western United States used wooden windmills to pump water, and many are still standing. In the late 1800s, the windmill was connected to an electric generator to produce electricity — hence, wind turbine.

In the 1970s and 1980s, wind turbines were clustered into wind farms and connected to the electric grid in California, which marked the first commercial, utility-scale use of wind energy. The size of those wind turbines were 100 kW and smaller. In the following decades, wind turbine technology progressed quickly, and by 2010, grid-connected wind turbines were typically in the 2-MW range and turbines as large as 6-MW have been deployed [17].

Adequate wind speeds are essential to the success of wind energy facilities. The potential energy in wind is determined as a function of the cube of the speed. Given the cubic relationship between power and wind speed, when wind speed doubles there is eight times more power available.

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