Wind power briefly explained

Illustration wind power

Wind power is one of the most environment-friendly sources of energy for large-scale electricity production. It is a renewable form of energy that produces no pollution. Wind turbines produce electricity by converting the kinetic energy of the wind into electrical power. The best available wind resources in Europe are found in Norway and the UK.

Power production from wind

The rotor blades on a wind turbine transfer the power of the wind via a drive shaft and gear box to a generator in the nacelle. The rotor blades are adjustable to produce the largest amount of electricity, regardles of whether the wind is blowing hard or gently.

When the wind is blowing faster than 3 m/s, the nacelle turns so that the rotor blades are facing the wind and electricity production begins. Maximum output is reached when the wind is blowing at 13m/s. At 25m/s the wind turbine shuts down to prevent damage to the machinery.

The height of the tower, the diameter of the rotor blades and the power output can vary. Most of the turbines in Statkraft’s wind farms have an installed capacity of 2.3 MW. The towers are 70 m high. The rotors are 83 m in diameter, and each turbine weighs just over 260 tonnes in total.

Environmental aspects

All large-scale energy production has an impact on the environment. Wind farms are highly visible in the landscape. Another challenge is to avoid spoiling areas of pristine nature or the habitats of threatened bird or animal species.

Wind farms must be located where the wind blows. They generally stand exposed in the landscape because they are built on high ground or in flat, open countryside. However, it has been shown that simple adjustments and adaptations can be implemented to mitigate the visual impact of the wind farms on the surrounding area.

To improve the general level of knowledge about the impact of wind farms on local birdlife, Statkraft is working with several research institutions. How the sea eagle population on Smøla is affected and how to avoid bird casualties is a key element in the research.