An Introduction to Wind Energy

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Clean wind energy, one of the world’s fastest growing sources of new electricity, is seeing major gains in Canada; in 2016 alone, 702 megawatts (MW) of new capacity was added across the country. Ontario, in particular, is leading the way, having completed 79 new installations comprised of 2,302 wind turbines.

Below, we’ll take look at some of the basics of clean wind energy, how it works, why it’s becoming so popular, and how Renown’s wind turbine repair services are keeping these energy sources in motion.

The Benefits of Wind Energy

Turbines in a windfarm generating alternative energy.A renewable, reliable, and low-cost source of energy, clean wind is an ideal supplement to other energy sources and allows for the creation of versatile, flexible electricity systems. Wind power is the cleanest form of energy — resulting in no air or water pollution — and can be used again and again, reducing the dependence on foreign oil and the steadily decreasing supply of fossil fuels.

Turbine installations comprise the main costs of wind energy but, once they’re up and running, they provide steady, cheap energy at a fraction of the cost of traditional sources. Areas with constant wind flows such as coastlines and open plains are ideal for wind turbines, as they can work in tandem with solar power to support agriculture and create surplus power for additional profit.

How Do Wind Turbines Work?

Wind turbines are comprised of blades, a rotor, a shaft, and a generator. Air passes over the blades to create a change in pressure, and the resulting lift causes the rotor to turn. As the blades turn, kinetic wind energy is converted into mechanical power, which is transmitted through the shaft to the generator. The electrical current then travels through underground cables to a substation, where voltage is increased for distribution or broader electricity transmission.

Horizontal- and vertical-axis are the two main types of wind turbines. Horizontal-axis turbines consist of two or three blades, like a fan, while vertical-axis turbines spin in a cylindrical motion, more like an egg beater. Large-scale turbines, ranging from 100 kilowatts to several megawatts, can be grouped together in farms to provide a highly cost-effective bulk power source, while small singular turbines less than 100 kilowatts are used for homes, water pumps, or telecommunications dishes.

Wind Energy on the Rise in Canada

Over the past decade, Canada has been making increasing use of wind energy, which is now the leading source of new electricity nationwide. This growth is expected to continue, as the Canadian Wind Energy Association (CanWEA) projects another 700 MW worth of new wind energy to be installed in 2017.

Ontario, which in 2014 officially became the first North American jurisdiction to eliminate coal as a source of electricity, continues to lead in clean wind energy, which supplies approximately 5% of the province’s electricity. At the forefront of the transition to a low-carbon economy, Ontario is also replacing fossil fuels with other renewable sources such as solar energy.

Not only has the rise of clean wind energy helped reduce electricity costs, it’s also generated thousands of manufacturing, construction, and local service jobs. The wind industry provides property tax revenue and new sources of income for landowners as well, boosting the economy while cutting costs and reducing harmful emissions.

How Renown Electric Can Help

With wind energy steadily rising, companies must be adequately prepared to perform wind turbine maintenance and repairs as needed. At Renown Electric, we offer a variety of mechanical and electrical repair services for this industry, as well as warranties for turbine OEMs and stock replacement parts.

With decades of expertise in variable frequency drives (VFDs), bearing current damage, and general motor bearing damage support, our skilled team will ensure that your wind turbine generators run efficiently and reliably. We also offer in-shop repairs — complete with prompt job-site pickups and returns — as well as a number of field services and on-site testing capabilities.

To learn more, about our wind turbine repair services contact us today.


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