Wind Turbines the Size of Football Fields

New offshore windmills are taller and bigger than their predecessors, and they will produce more power.
November 2, 2018, 11am PDT | Casey Brazeal | @northandclark
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Windmills are getting bigger. In Europe where there's more political will to move to clean energy, huge off shore windmills will be able to produce more power on a more regular basis, "… with bigger rotors and blades to cover a wider area. That increases the capacity of the turbine, i.e., its total potential production," David Roberts reports for Vox. Besides being bigger, these windmills are also taller. The Haliade-X from GE will stand 853 feet high, for reference the Eiffel tower stands 1056 feet high. Higher elevations offer more steady wind so there's less variability in the energy produced.

Building taller, bigger windmills presents some engineering challenges. If turbines are not strong enough, they can break, and the longer the turbines are the more torque they have to withstand. So bigger windmills need to be built to withstand higher windspeeds. By making wind power less variable, these huge turbines will bring the price of wind power down. Because it will need less back up and have an extended time of power generation, making it more likely to be creating power during peak demand.

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Published on Tuesday, October 23, 2018 in Vox
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