Wind turbines are fascinating to watch as the wind spins their three-pronged propellers high up in the air. These enormous machines produce a lot of alternative electrical energy, but from the looks of them they do not appear to do much at all. Most of what you see as you drive by is an optical illusion. You probably have several questions in regards to these enormous machines, and here are a few of those questions answered almost as quickly as the wind spins the turbines themselves.
How High up Are the Turbine Towers?
Turbine tower height is dependent upon the length of each of the blades. Obviously, if you have turbine blades that are fifty meters long, you need a tower that is at least double that in height so that when the blades spin they are not cutting into the ground or blasting people on the ground with their wind speed. There are several turbine towers and blades that break records for height and length, all measuring dozens of meters high and long.
How Fast Do the Blades Spin?
Here is the biggest optical illusion of all. While you are watching these enormous turbine blades spin, they appear to barely be moving. Even when they look like they are moving really fast, they still look like they are moving slower than the rotary blades on a helicopter. The blades, in fact can move beyond seventy miles an hour, so while you are traveling horizontally in a car that fast, the turbine's blades are moving in a rotation that equals (and often exceeds and rivals!) your ground speed. Because of the enormous length and span of the blades, they look like they are hardly moving at all.
How Much Energy Can They Actually Produce?
The amount of energy these great machines produce depends on a wide variety of factors. Wind speed is obviously a factor, even though turbines are engineered to spin without any wind at all. Their height, the length of their blades, the number of turbines in close proximity to each other, and even the materials they are made of all effect the amount of energy they produce. Engineers who design these machines are really the only ones who can do the math that shows you how much energy a specific wind turbine produces and is supposed to produce, so if you ever want to know, you can either ask the engineers that provide maintenance for these machines, or request a brochure or pamphlet from the energy company that uses the turbines to harness wind power.