You would think faster winds would be better business for Iowa’s wind energy industry, but that’s not always the case. Today was too windy for some wind farms.
The best speed for turning wind into the maximum amount of energy is 50 mph. Today’s gusts were up to 60 mph. Turbine blades are some 300 feet in the air where winds are higher, up to 80 miles per hour today.
That’s borderline too strong. Some farms had a very productive day and some shut down. Managers had to weigh the options of fully operating to get energy onto the grid or shut down to prevent possible damage from the high winds.
“It puts too much stress on the blades and the internal components. They were designed to shut down. We don’t want blades snapping,” said Keith Kutz of the Iowa Energy Center.
He said it is rare that a blade snaps, but the internal gears can also take a beating. Turbines also have equipment on them that can read the wind speed and direction and then automatically adjust to that and even shut down if necessary.
|Wind Watch relies entirely
on User Funding