Wind power generally refers to the use of the wind to generate
either mechanical power or electricity. In the case of the latter,
kinetic energy is converted into electricity using a generator.
Because wind is a variable resource and is often located far from
load centers (large pockets of customers), integrating wind energy
into the nation’s electric grid poses some challenges. However,
many of these challenges can be addressed and / or mitigated if the
country adopts a comprehensive transmission strategy similar to
that which AEP has been advocating for a number of years.
How wind turbines work
The capacity of utility grade wind turbines ranges from about 100 kilowatts to several megawatts.
Each turbine is mounted on a tower which raises the fan blades and the generator to an elevation that enables access to faster, less turbulent wind. The spinning of a rotor drives the shaft of a
generator to produce electricity.
Most wind turbines do not operate at wind speeds greater than 55 mph. When winds are higher
than 55 mph, the turbines can change the pitch of their blades so that they are not moved by the
wind, in order to avoid the damage that would result.
Most wind turbines do not operate at wind speeds greater than 55 mph. They have the technical capability to change the pitch of the blades so that they are not moved by the wind in order to avoid the damage that would result.
The inside of a wind turbine
The economics of wind power
The following factors determine the economic viability of wind power projects:
- Wind speed—the energy generated is a function of the wind speed: a 10 percent increase
- in wind speed results in a 33 percent increase in energy production.
- The height of the tower and the length of the blades.
- he size of the wind farm—fixed costs measured in $/kWh generally decrease as projects grow in size.
- The cost of financing long-term assets.
- Transmission market constraints.
- Federal, state and local tax incentives.
We've had an active wind
program since the mid-
1990s. AEP supplies
electricity from renewable
wind resources in three
ways: purchased power
development. For more
information on AEP’s
experience with wind
energy, please visit the