How Wind Works

Wind turbines across the world work in the same way. Here’s a short video from the United States, Department of Energy showing exactly how a wind turbine works & the parts of a turbine.


Wind turbines harness the power of the wind and use it to generate electricity. Simply stated, a wind turbine works the opposite of a fan. Instead of using electricity to make wind, like a fan, wind turbines use wind to make electricity. Wind is a good way to get energy. The wind almost never stops, especially here in Ireland. It is also clean. This type of energy is called ‘green’ or ‘renewable’. Renewable means it will never run out.



Raises the blades to capture the most wind. The higher the tower the more electricity is produced.

(2) THE HUB: The hub looks like the nose of the wind turbine. The rotor blades are usually attached to the hub on the ground. A crane lifts them, and fitters mount them to the hub.

(3) THE NACELLE: The nacelle at the top of a wind turbine tower houses the generator and other technical components. The cables carrying the large amount of electricity from the generator of the wind turbine are nearly as thick as your arm. The cables carry the electricity that has been generated by wind power to our homes.

(4) THE ROTOR: The turbine’s three blades that capture wind energy for electricity generation. The rotor blades are shaped like the wings of an airplane. They can catch the wind better than anything else.

(5) DRIVE SHAFT: The rotor turns the drive shaft with great power. That is why the shaft has to be very thick.

(6) GEARBOX: The gears in the gearbox turn the slow rotation of the rotor into quick rotation for the generator so that it can produce as much electricity as possible.

(7) ANEMOMETER: The anemometer measures the speed of the wind. It constantly sends information about the wind speed to the controller. In case of a storm the rotor is slowed down.

(8) WIND VANE: The wind vane is turned by the wind. It tells the controller from which direction the wind is blowing. The controller tells the yaw motor how to turn the rotor into the wind.

(9) YAW MOTOR: The yaw motor turns the nacelle so that the rotor always faces the wind.

(10) MECHANICAL BRAKE: Is used when the wind turbine has to be repaired or serviced. It ensures that the rotor will not start turning.

(11) CONTROLLERS: Are small computers. They monitor the many parts of the wind turbine and make sure that it always faces the wind.

(12) GENERATOR: Is driven by the thick shaft. It produces electric current when it is turning. The current is sent down through thick cables.

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