What is a Wind Turbine Generator?
A wind turbine generator is the device responsible for converting raw wind power into electricity. This takes place when the rotational movement generated by the blades enters the generator through the shaft. There, the rotation helps to create an electromagnetic field that produces electrical power at a maximum of hundreds of volts. The electricity then travels to a transformer where the voltage will be increased before being sent out for distribution.
A wind turbine generator, at least in a horizontal axis wind turbine, is found in the nacelle. This is the portion of the turbine apparatus that is located directly behind the wind turbine blades. Some may also refer to this area as the gear box. Usually, the generator is located at the very back of the nacelle, and is the farthest piece of equipment from the blade.
A wind turbine generator cannot generate very much electricity in and of itself. Larger generators can possibly generate a little more power, but they are not commonly found in wind turbines. The size of the wind turbine generator is limited by the size of the nacelle, and the weight at the top of the tower. Because of this, wind turbines are generally set up in large groups called "wind farms," or "windmill farms."
Although it specifically designed for use in a wind turbine, all generators work in much the same way. A current is produced using the principles of electromagnetism. The movement of magnets around a metal coil inside the generator, or the movement of a coil near a stationary set of magnets, produces a current of electricity, which can then be put to practical use. In the case of a wind power, the movement inside the wind turbine generator is generated by the turning of the blades.
This is different than what most generators will use to produce the movement that generates the electricity. For common household generators, the most common power source is gasoline, kerosene or diesel. A wind turbine generator is considered one of the cleanest forms of energy, simply because its power source burns no fossil fuels, creates no pollution, and is totally renewable.
As with any piece of equipment with moving parts, wind turbine generators may break down from time to time. Those who repair these generators and other wind turbine parts are specifically trained for such tasks. In areas where they are especially prevalent, there are courses offered at community colleges and vocational colleges that teach such skills and provide hands-on learning opportunities.
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