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What are the Basic Wind Turbine Configurations?

The basic wind energy conversion device is the wind turbine. Although various designs and configurations exist, these turbines are generally grouped into two types:

  1. vertical-axis wind turbines, in which the axis of rotation is vertical with respect to the ground (and roughly perpendicular to the wind stream),
  2. horizontal-axis turbines, in which the axis of rotation is horizontal with respect to the ground (and roughly parallel to the wind stream.)

Horizontal and Vertical Axis Wind Turbines

The Figure illustrates the two types of turbines and typical subsystems for an electricity generation application. The subsystems include a blade or rotor, which converts the energy in the wind to rotational shaft energy; a drive train, usually including a gearbox and a generator; a tower that supports the rotor and drive train; and other equipment, including controls, electrical cables, ground support equipment, and interconnection equipment.