In preparation for writing this blog entry about wind power, we conducted an in-depth study of the inner workings of wind farms. We read articles from all over the internet, talked with our Electrical and Mechanical Engineers, and attempted to decipher the formulas and drawings that our Research Department provided us. Ultimately, we concluded that it’s never a good idea to ask an engineer how something works unless you have many hours to spare!
We also realized this: There isn’t much information out there explaining how a wind farm is structured. Where are the transformers? How many are there? Let us reveal our findings…
Typically, each wind turbine is connected to a step-up transformer which boosts the generating output of the turbine generator. These transformers are typically small in MVA rating and located at the base of the wind turbine. Grounding transformers are located at critical points throughout the wind farm to provide a neutral point for grounding purposes. From there, all the power is then interconnected to a collector step-up transformer located in a substation where it is transported to the electricity grid.
Normally, a wind turbine’s generating capacity range anywhere from 660 KW to over 3 MW, which can power up to 1,050 homes. However, due to many external factors, the turbines are usually only running at 30-40% of their total capacity output.
Wind power is renewable, clean, and free; but like all substations they have vulnerabilities. Transformer explosions and fires are large risks at wind farm substations – if there is an occurrence and the oil leaks or spills, the owner is looking at hefty environmental fines from the contamination. It’s definitely better to look into solutions to prevent these catastrophic events.
Wind power is clean energy, let’s keep it clean by protecting the transformers!