Wind Energy

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.

Wind Capacity by state

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.

Wind Capacity by state
The inside of a wind turbine
Source: Energy.gov

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.

AEP Experience

We've had an active wind generation development program since the mid- 1990s. AEP supplies electricity from renewable wind resources in three ways: purchased power agreements, ownership and international development. For more information on AEP’s experience with wind energy, please visit the following page:
Renewable Resources