Student Research: Top 10 Facts about Large Wind Turbines and the Wind Energy Industry

Summer 2011 Top Ten Lists for Renewable Energy

ELE 333 Sustainability Design

Instructor: Bethany Johnson

Large Wind Turbines and the Wind Energy Industry

by: Tia Dennis

1. VAWTs were first recorded about 2,200 years ago in ancient Persia and were primarily used to

grind grain (Chinchilla, Guccione and Tillman 2011).”

2. 90% of all wind turbines produced today are the Horizontal Axis Wind Turbine (HAWT) design.

3. Today, the average utility or commercial sized turbine cost $3.5 million dollars to construct and

install.

4. Most utility scaled turbines only need an average wind speed of 13 mph to properly function.

5. The power produced by a wind turbine is equivalent to the wind speed cubed.

6. The largest turbine on record right now is called the Enercon E-126 and its blades or rotor has a

diameter of 413 feet. It can produce up to 7+ megawatts (20 million kilowatt hours per year) which

equates to enough power for 1776 average American homes per year or 5000 European

households of 4 per year.

7. “Illinois ranked second in 2010 for most new wind added (Wind Energy Facts: Illinois 2011)”

8. In 2010, 2.2% of Illinois’ energy was provided by wind. This equates to 550,000 homes powered

by IL wind farms. (Wind Energy Facts: Illinois 2011)

9. Iowa leads the nation in the amount of wind energy it is producing and utilizing. 15.4% of Iowa’s

electricity comes from wind. (2010 U.S. Wind industry Annual Market Report: Rankings 2011)

10. There are currently no built offshore wind farms in the U.S but the closest to completion is Cape

Wind which is located off of the coast of Cape Cod, Massachusetts. It is projected to open in

2012.

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