By nature, modern wind turbines are designed to handle some weather-related stress. But even the toughest wind turbines can’t always beat the elements. That is precisely where Vestas’ Extreme Climate wind turbine comes into play. The extreme wind turbine is the newest addition to Vestas’ family of turbines, which are built on a 4MW platform. If you’re wondering what’s different about these extreme climate machines and what sets them apart from other types of renewable energy, here is some information on how Vestas’ newest product takes wind energy to new levels.
Wind turbines are one of several wind energy technologies. They are sometimes confused with windmills, which mostly use water power to create energy. Wind turbines, in contrast, are wind-powered. They generate kinetic energy in the form of electricity only using wind. The Department of Energy notes that wind turbines create energy as wind hits their blades. This causes the blades to spin, which in turn sends power to a generator. A windmill, in contrast, uses mechanical components to pump water, grind grain, and sometimes produce electrical power. Both energy sources produce power, but the windmill is older technology. Turbines are typically used in power plants. Since turbines produce more energy than windmills, they are used primarily in large-scale applications to produce maximal American wind energy.
Bigger is Better
The new, more powerful turbines are designed to withstand stronger winds and harsher environmental conditions. Their production capabilities are best when the wind blows at light to medium speeds. However, they can remain standing (and functional) at higher wind speeds than most turbines can tolerate. Vestas’ new Extreme Climate machines are built on a larger 4.2 MW platform. This platform supports a larger turbine and gives it a more solid foundation. Ultimately, the broader platform solves the problem of stability and support that is frequently lacking in smaller wind operations.
Built for Success
A larger platform is just the start of what the Extreme Climate turbine offers for successful electrical power production. The platform for the new turbine is larger and equipped with a variety of design modifications to optimize power, safety, and performance in worsening environmental conditions. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory notes that the Extreme Climate turbine can handle substantial wind speeds of 53 meters per second (m/s), which translates to 118 MPH. It can also handle more extreme wind gusts that range between 74 and 78 m/s, which equals about 170 MPH.
Improved Range and Versatility
A third fact of the Extreme Climate is that it appears to be a promising solution for delivering power from challenging sites more predictably than a wind farm or standalone turbine. The Extreme Climate is designed for equally successful use in wind plants or as a standalone source of power generation. In addition to higher wind speeds, the Extreme Climate is designed to handle lighting strikes and adverse weather frequently associated with tropical storms. The design change includes modifications to the turbine’s internal components, which are stronger and more resilient than found in most other small wind machines, as well as changes to the outer shell that acts as the first line of defense against offshore wind power.
Among the wind resources available, the Extreme Climate is the strongest, most durable, and most efficient source of wind technology yet. With a fortified construction and a greater power generation capacity, the Extreme Climate marks a step forward for wind energy by safely sourcing wind power from otherwise dangerous and inhospitable environments that technology could not access before. Currently, the new turbine has only been produced and released in limited quantities. Following a successful start, however, Vestas expects mass production of the Extreme Climate to start around mid-year 2021.