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Wind Turbine Technology

Evolution of Commercial Wind Turbine Technology

The engineering challenge for the wind industry is to design an efficient wind turbine to harness wind energy and turn it into electricity. In this chapter, the evolution of wind turbines is discussed, their present status described and the future challenges identified.

The evolution of modern wind turbines is a story of engineering and scientific skill, coupled with a strong entrepreneurial spirit. In the last 20 years, turbines have increased in size by a factor of 100 (from 25 kW to 2500 kW and beyond), the cost of energy has reduced by a factor of more than five and the industry has moved from an idealistic fringe activity to an acknowledged component of the power generation industry. At the same time, the engineering base and computational tools have developed to match machine size and volume. This is a remarkable story, but it is far from finished: many technical challenges remain and even more spectacular achievements will follow.

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