How Much Power do Wind Turbines Use

Quixotes Last Stand

Tip of the hat to Ocotillo Wind Turbine Destruction for this find.

Al Fin — August 2010

Most people wonder how much power a wind turbine can produce, and never stop to wonder how much power a wind turbine requires to operate. Mechanical engineer Jerry Graf believes that it is long past time for people to ask that question:

Big turbines often incorporate rechargeable batteries or ultracapacitors to power their own electrical systems. When those get depleted, the power must come from the grid. This power goes into running equipment such as yaw mechanisms that keep the blades turned into the wind; blade-pitch controls that meter the spinning rotor; aircraft lights and data-collection electronics; oil heaters, pumps, and coolers for the multi-ton gearbox; and hydraulic brakes for locking blades down in high winds.

Turbines in northern climes also need blade heaters to prevent icing. Reports I’ve seen say these heaters…

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