Wind Turbines – How They Work

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ambience: wind turbine

Picture old farming land — rolling hills, crops blowing in the wind and a windmill turning somewhere in the distance. Well, improvements in the old wind turbine system have ushered in new mechanisms for generating electricity. I’m Jim Metzner and this is the Pulse of the Planet.

“It’s kind of an exciting experience to see the turbines working, to see that equipment actually producing clean, environmentally safe electricity for our customers.”

Rick Halet is an engineer with Xcel Energy, a company that has installed turbines on the Buffalo Ridge– to catch the wind and turn it into energy.

“The old wind turbines were quite often used for water pumping so they had multiple blades, they were maybe fifty foot tall, total. The new turbines are considerably bigger. The part that actually catches the wind is called a rotor. That typically consists of three blades. The wind blows past the blades, causing lift, which rotates the blades themselves, and the blades turn a generator that’s installed inside the box on top of the tower. Towers are about 150 feet above the ground. It’s roughly about a 50 meter rotor diameter. Ah, approximately the same wingspan as a DC-10 jet. The power, comes down, from the tower, goes through power lines in the ground, uh out in the fields. Once it gets to the roads, it typically goes above ground and it comes to a substation that’s totally dedicated to wind power. Right now, that substation accepts the energy from over 400 wind turbines in this part of the country. The development here on the Buffalo Ridge right now is probably about thirty miles long. You know, so it goes almost from the South Dakota border, all the way 30 miles down the ridge.”

Pulse of the Planet is presented by DuPont bringing you the miracles of science for 200 years, with additional support by the National Science Foundation. I’m Jim Metzner.

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Wind Turbines - How They Work

Wind mills dot rolling hills from South Dakota to Minnesota, harnessing wind for electrical generation.
Air Date:03/31/2004
Scientist:
Transcript:


music
ambience: wind turbine

Picture old farming land -- rolling hills, crops blowing in the wind and a windmill turning somewhere in the distance. Well, improvements in the old wind turbine system have ushered in new mechanisms for generating electricity. I’m Jim Metzner and this is the Pulse of the Planet.

"It’s kind of an exciting experience to see the turbines working, to see that equipment actually producing clean, environmentally safe electricity for our customers."

Rick Halet is an engineer with Xcel Energy, a company that has installed turbines on the Buffalo Ridge-- to catch the wind and turn it into energy.

"The old wind turbines were quite often used for water pumping so they had multiple blades, they were maybe fifty foot tall, total. The new turbines are considerably bigger. The part that actually catches the wind is called a rotor. That typically consists of three blades. The wind blows past the blades, causing lift, which rotates the blades themselves, and the blades turn a generator that’s installed inside the box on top of the tower. Towers are about 150 feet above the ground. It's roughly about a 50 meter rotor diameter. Ah, approximately the same wingspan as a DC-10 jet. The power, comes down, from the tower, goes through power lines in the ground, uh out in the fields. Once it gets to the roads, it typically goes above ground and it comes to a substation that’s totally dedicated to wind power. Right now, that substation accepts the energy from over 400 wind turbines in this part of the country. The development here on the Buffalo Ridge right now is probably about thirty miles long. You know, so it goes almost from the South Dakota border, all the way 30 miles down the ridge.”

Pulse of the Planet is presented by DuPont bringing you the miracles of science for 200 years, with additional support by the National Science Foundation. I'm Jim Metzner.

music