WIND TURBINES

Introduction & Benefits

A wind turbine is used to convert kinetic energy into mechanical energy. The use of a wind turbine is particularly effective in areas that are subject to wind on a consistent basis.

Most of the wind turbine installations in South Africa are based on older technology – using horizontal axis wind turbines. These older systems are noisy and generally require servicing and high levels of maintenance on a
regular basis.

The newer, current technology, using vertical axis wind turbines are more efficient, are less noisy and require less maintenance. They run more smoothly than the horizontal axis wind turbines and can handle wind from all directions, thus making them more efficient.

Since the amount of wind required to generate energy from a wind turbine is not normally reliable, wind turbines are most effective when used in conjunction with other technologies, particularly that of solar photovoltaics. It is estimated that the most effective use of a wind turbine is through the application of a hybrid system where roughly 75% of the energy is generated through solar photovoltaics and 25% through wind turbines.

Benefits:

  • Wind energy is renewable, clean and widely distributed.
  • Wind energy reduces toxic greenhouse gas emissions if used to replace fossil fuel-derived electricity.
  • When using wind energy at low-moderated penetration levels, the intermittency / lack of consistency of wind seldom creates problems.
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