> FAQ

bullet What is a wind turbine?
bullet A wind turbine is a machine that transforms the kinetic energy of the wind into mechanical or electrical energy. Wind turbines consist of a foundation, a tower, a nacelle and a rotor. The foundation prevents the turbine from falling over. The tower holds up the rotor and a nacelle (or box).
The nacelle contains large primary components such as the main axle, gearbox, generator, transformer and control system. The rotor is made of the blades and the hub, which holds them in position as they turn. Most commercial wind turbines have three rotor blades. The length of the blades can be more than 60 metres.
bullet How can you measure the wind?
bullet Wind is usually measured by its speed and direction. Wind atlases show the distribution of wind speeds on a broad scale, giving a graphical representation of mean wind speed (for a specified height) across an area. They are compiled by local meteorological station measurements or other wind-related recorded data.
Traditionally, wind speed is measured by anemometers – usually three cups that capture the wind rotating around a vertical axis (pictured below). The wind direction is measured with weather vanes.
After measuring wind data for at least one year, the mean annual wind speed can be calculated. Wind speed and wind direction statistics are visualised in a wind rose, showing the statistical repartition of wind speed per direction.
Wind statistics show the best sites to locate wind farms according to the best wind resources. They also provide further information on how the turbines should be positioned in relation to each other and what the distance between the turbines should be.
bullet What is the wind?
bullet The Earth is surrounded by the atmosphere, which is made up of air. Air is a mixture of gas, and solid and liquid particles. Energy from the sun heats up the atmosphere and the Earth unevenly.
Cold air contains more air particles than warm air. Cold air is therefore heavier and sinks down through the atmosphere, creating high pressure areas. Warm air rises through the atmosphere, creating low pressure areas. The air tries to balance out the low and high pressure areas – air particles move from areas of high pressure (cold air) to areas of low pressure (warm air). This movement of air is known as the wind.
The wind is also influenced by the movement of the earth. As it turns on its axis the air does not travel directly from areas of higher pressure to areas of lower pressure. Instead, the air is pushed to the west in the northern hemisphere and to the east in the southern hemisphere. This is known as the Coriolis force. Click to see a diagram of how the movement of the Earth affects wind.
The Earth's surface is marked with trees, buildings, lakes, sea, hills and valleys, all of which also influence the wind's direction and speed. For example, where warm land and cool sea meet, the difference in temperature creates thermal effects, which causes local sea breezes.

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