A wind farm is a group of wind turbines that work together to generate electricity.  They gather the wind’s energy into electricity which can either be stored or distributed to the connected grid.

The location of a wind farm is a very important factor that will determine the final output performance. Some wind farms are placed near water bodies, such as coastal sea areas or even river areas to capitalize on the stronger winds available. Regardless of the location, wind farms tend to be distributed over large spaces of up to hundreds of kilometers where the land in between can be used for other things such as farming.

How does Wind Farm Practically Work?

Wind farms simply operate by using wind energy to generate electricity.  Wind drives a turbine’s rotor blades around a rotor, drives a generator, which produces electrical energy.

Wind turbine don’t need to have a powerful wind i.e. most turbine blades begin turning at a wind velocity of 3-5 m / sec, which is a very slight breeze.  A shaft in the nacelle — the box-like frame at the head of a wind turbine – is turned by this rotating action.  The kinetic energy of the turning shaft is subsequently converted into electrical energy by a generator installed into the nacelle.  The voltage of the electricity generated is then increased by a transformer before being delivered to grid to limit the amount of energy loss.

How Energy Efficient are Wind Farms?

Wind power is a sustainable clean energy source because it blows throughout the year.  The optimum efficiency of a windmill is about 59 percent which means that the majority of turbines collect 50% of the power of the wind passing through the rotor area.

If we compare the energy production of various renewable energy sources, it’s important to take into account not just the capacity factor, but also their energy efficiency.  

How Much Does a Wind Turbine Cost to Build?

Turbines generate a substantial amount of electricity, which is sold to regional utility companies and then distributed to residential and commercial areas via the power grid.

  • $2.8–$4 million per industrial on shore wind turbine of average size (2-3MW)
  • The average cost per megawatt (MW) of electricity generating capacity is $1.4 million
  • Corporate wind turbines typically have a power of 2-3 MW, however
  • The cost of a wind farm grows as its size grows up, however, there are advantages to having a few, bigger turbines rather than having a complex wind farm in terms of lower maintenance costs

What are the Largest Wind Farms in The World?

Some of the world’s largest wind farms are:

China’s Gansu Wind Farm

The Gansu Wind Farm is located on the borders of the Gobi Desert in Gansu Province, China which is the world’s biggest wind turbine, with a capacity of 20GW.  The plant will eventually have 7,000 turbines and provides sufficient energy to run a small country.

United States – Alta Wind Energy Centre (AWEC)

The Alta Wind Energy Centre, commonly known as the Mojave Wind Turbine, is located in Kern County, California, near the Tehachapi Valley in the Tehachapi Mountains.  It is a large-scale wind turbine in the United States, with a power output of 1,550MW.

Alta Wind Energy Center - Wikipedia

India’s Muppandal Wind Farm

The Muppandal Wind Farm, in India’s Kanyakumari district, is the state’s major operating wind farm having a production output of 1,500MW (megawatts) and is maintained by the Tamil Nadu Energy Development Agency.  The wind farm has 3,000 turbines with capacities ranging from 200 to 1,700 kW. 

Muppandal wind farm in Tamilnadu with 1500 MW of installed capacity. |  Download Scientific Diagram

How do Wind Farms get constructed?

Although a wind turbine is a simple concept, the construction of a turbine is a complex activity due to their sheer size. The following stages are involved in turbine construction:

  1. First construct the tower for which the tower’s steel pieces may be manufactured outside in industry, but they are usually constructed on site.  The tower is welded together and held in a horizontal position until it is installed while a crane lifts the tower into place, bolts are fixed, and the tower’s stability is evaluated.
  2. After installation of fiberglass nacelle, the gearbox, primary drive shaft, yaw controls, and blade pitch are assembled and mounted on a base frame. The nacelle is bolted together, containing the equipment, and then lifted onto the completed tower and attached while the gearbox and main driving shaft are normally housed in the nacelle, which is usually composed of fiberglass.
  3. After mounting the nacelle on the tower, the blades are usually fastened on.  Two blades are normally just on the nacelle until it is lifted, and the 3rd blade is bolted when the nacelle is in place.
  4. Including the blades and nacelle, the utility box for the wind turbines, and the wind farm’s electric communication system are installed.


Wind turbines with 3 rotating blades spin more efficiently and are easier to fix than those with 2 blades.  Smaller turbines generate less power but are easier to manage and have a lower risk of a mechanical fault.

Why do some people dislike Wind Farms?

Although wind farms have a lot of benefits they also have some negative impacts on man and the environment.  Some of them are:

  • Health problems caused by wind farms include wind turbine disorder, a dubious diagnosis characterized by dizziness, nausea, headache, ear pain, and a variety of other alarming symptoms in those who live too close to massive turbines.
  • Birds are often killed when they are hit by the turbines’ rapidly rotating blades, which are hard for them to perceive, so they may be killed by electricity wires at wind turbines.
  • Though wind farms have a lower environmental impact than other power plants, but there is worry about the noise generated by the turbine blades.

What are the maintenance costs of Wind Farms?

Maintenance requires a constant cost once a wind farm is constructed i.e. 1-3 cents per kWh of electricity produced, or $40,000–50,000 annually.  Although operating and maintaining this equipment can be costly, they are all long-term investments that will (ideally) pay for themselves over time.  According to research based on German data, these expenses can range from 1-2 Eurocents per kilowatt hour (kWh) generated.

As stated earlier, the average O&M expenditure in the United States is $40,000 to $50,000 each year, however, that amount is decreasing as technology advances.  That number rises as the turbine becomes older.

Technology Advancements in Wind turbine

Here are five developments that industry experts predict will occur in wind turbine building, positioning, and production in the upcoming years.

1. Increased Blade Size

The rotor blade used to be 30 to 40 meters long, or around 115 feet, from vertex to tip 10 years later, but according to John Hensley, director of research at ACP, today modern blades are double of that size.   The greater the radius of the rotor blades, the more  wind can enter, and, as a result, more power will be the generated.

2. More Elevated Towers

Wind farms and their towers are growing in size and height result in more output like the Haliade X offshore wind turbine by GE Renewable Power produce 12 MW, 13 MW, or 14 MW, depending on the model.  A model is being developed in Rotterdam’s harbor which has more power than the largest wind farm already working.

Note that one MW (megawatt) is equal to 1,000,000 watts of power, and 1000 megawatts are sufficient to power a medium-sized city for a month.

3. More energy is produced

High productivity is achieved by using larger blades and higher turbines.  In comparison, a decade ago, the average turbine could produce 1.5 megawatts of electricity, hence their capacity has increased, with GE’s Haliade X presently being the largest.


Wind power is a rising alternative source of energy that could eventually replace traditional carbon fuels.  There have been numerous recent advancements in the field of wind energy, such as offshore installations that can reduce electricity prices and can be easily built on sea water surfaces.  Wind speeds and directions are predictable in deep oceans, allowing for efficient energy production.  Future advances, such as robotic crawlers, will be able to examine and diagnose faults on giant wind turbines, while new advances in rotor size and blades will allow for optimal wind use while lowering production costs.

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