Home » TECHNOLOGY » Wind Turbine Technology » The Technical Challenge of a Unique Technology » Design drivers for modern technology

Design drivers for modern technology

The main design drivers for current wind technology are:

  • Low wind and high wind sites
  • Grid compatibility
  • Acoustic performance
  • Aerodynamic performance
  • Visual impact
  • Offshore

Although the existing offshore market, in terms of installed capacity, is only approaching 1.5% of the world’s total installed capacity, the latest developments in wind technology have been much driven by the offshore market.  This means that, in the new millennium, the technology development focus has been mainly on the most effective ways to make very large turbines.  Specific considerations are:

  • low mass nacelle arrangements;
  • large rotor technology and advanced composite engineering; and
  • design for offshore foundations, erection and maintenance.

A recent trend, however, is the return of development interest to new production lines for the size ranges most relevant to the land-based market, from 800 kW up to about 3 MW.  Of the other main drivers, larger rotor diameters (in relation to rated output power) have resulted in order to enhance exploitation of low wind speed sites.  Reinforced structures, relatively shorter towers and smaller rotor diameters in relation to rated power are employed on extremely high wind speed sites.  

Grid compatibility issues are inhibiting further development of large wind turbines employing stall regulation.  Acoustic performance regulates tip speed for land-based applications and causes careful attention to mechanical and aerodynamic engineering details.  Only small improvements in aerodynamic performance are now possible (relative to theoretical limits), but maximising performance without aggravating loads continues to drive aerodynamic design developments.  Visual impact constrains design options that may fundamentally be technically viable, for example, two-bladed rotors.

<< Design styles Architecture of a modern wind turbine >>
  Sitemap | Partners | Disclaimer | Contact

coordinated by


supported by

Intelligent Energy Europ

The sole responsibility for the content of this webpage lies with the authors. It does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the European Communities. The European Commission is not responsible for any use that maybe made of the information contained therein.