• The average wind turbine is 360 feet tall. The blades look small in this picture but that’s only because they are so far from the ground.

    Photo Credit: iStock | istockphoto.com

  • Wind Turbine

    This gives you a better idea of how tall the average wind turbine is, especially compared to the tiny little people and cars!. 360 feet is nearly 110 meters. Does this help you understand why the US wind map measures wind speeds at 80 meters?

  • Wind Turbine

    The very largest wind turbines are built offshore, in the ocean, because there is more open space, and no neighbors. They are so big that a 747 air plane could fit inside one of the blades! These super-sized turbines generate a great deal more energy than the typical turbine on a wind farm.

  • Wind Turbine

    Wind turbines can be different sizes. The bigger they are, the more electricity they can generate. That’s because winds are stronger the higher you go, and the larger blades can capture more wind. But bigger isn’t always better. Smaller turbines can be best for powering a house or part of a college campus.

  • Wind Turbine

    Offshore turbines are some of the largest now in use. Some are anchored on the ocean floor. Others float on special platforms.

    Photo Credit: iStock | istockphoto.com

  • Wind Turbine

    This diagram shows how taller turbines avoid the more turbulent winds near the ground, where trees, buildings and mountains can disturb or block the wind flow.

  • Wind Turbine

    Workers who go into wind turbines are required to wear safety gear. Especially important is a strong body harness that tethers them to the structure and breaks their fall if they lose their balance.

  • Wind Turbine

    Wind farm technicians all receive thorough training in how to keep themselves safe at great heights and while working with high voltage electric current.

    Photo Credit: left: Dennis Schroeder: NREL | images.nrel.gov – 20868.jpg
    Photo Credit: right: Dennis Schroeder: NREL | images.nrel.gov – 21920.jpg

  • Wind Turbine

    Some turbines are so tall they even have elevators so technicians don’t have to climb a ladder all the way up. When technicians go outside on top of the nacelle, they always wear safety harnesses to protect them from falls. Non-skid material helps technicians keep their footing so they don’t fall.

    Photo Credit: main: Dennis Schroeder: NREL | images.nrel.gov – 19007.jpg

  • Wind Turbine

    Special trap doors allow technicians to climb out and work on the outside of the hub when necessary. Their safety harness helps keep them safe.

    Photo Credit: main: Sandia National Laboratories: NREL | images.nrel.gov – 11071.jpg

The average wind turbine is 360 feet tall. The blades look small in this picture but that’s only because they are so far from the ground.
This gives you a better idea of how tall the average wind turbine is, especially compared to the tiny little people and cars!. 360 feet is nearly 110 meters. Does this help you understand why the US wind map measures wind speeds at 80 meters?
The very largest wind turbines are built offshore, in the ocean, because there is more open space, and no neighbors. They are so big that a 747 air plane could fit inside one of the blades! These super-sized turbines generate a great deal more energy than the typical turbine on a wind farm.
Wind turbines can be different sizes. The bigger they are, the more electricity they can generate. That’s because winds are stronger the higher you go, and the larger blades can capture more wind. But bigger isn’t always better. Smaller turbines can be best for powering a house or part of a college campus.
Offshore turbines are some of the largest now in use. Some are anchored on the ocean floor. Others float on special platforms.
This diagram shows how taller turbines avoid the more turbulent winds near the ground, where trees, buildings and mountains can disturb or block the wind flow.
Workers who go into wind turbines are required to wear safety gear. Especially important is a strong body harness that tethers them to the structure and breaks their fall if they lose their balance.
Wind farm technicians all receive thorough training in how to keep themselves safe at great heights and while working with high voltage electric current.
Some turbines are so tall they even have elevators so technicians don’t have to climb a ladder all the way up. When technicians go outside on top of the nacelle, they always wear safety harnesses to protect them from falls. Non-skid material helps technicians keep their footing so they don’t fall.
Special trap doors allow technicians to climb out and work on the outside of the hub when necessary. Their safety harness helps keep them safe.
At the base of the turbine the technician gets ready for the climb up the narrow tower. He puts on his body harness and then hooks his bags of equipment and parts to a hoist. The chain lifts the bags up to the top of the turbine, going through trapdoors on each floor. As he climbs up, he will close each trapdoor to reduce the danger of falling.
This will be a long climb up, over 300 feet (92 meters). To help with his climb, the technician uses a “climb assist”, a special rope that he attaches to his harness. When he tugs on the rope, a motor on the first floor pulls the rope up to help carry the weight of his body from level to level, so he doesn’t have to use all his muscles to climb. He would be very tired at the top if he did not use an assist.
The technician will climb up through 3 or 4 platforms, each with a trapdoor he will open to enter and then close after himself. At each floor he will check all the bolts, which you see numbered on the right. The cables running up the inside of the turbine are bundled and protected with a metal shield.
At last! The top floor. That yellow box is the hoist that brings up bags of equipment and parts. To its right you can see the bundle of electrical and computer cables. Now we are going to climb up through that hole into the nacelle.
Now we can see that the blue shaft connects the turbine blades and the gear box. (The gear box is the blue thing on the left side.) If you look down the ladder, you can see the top floor below the nacelle.
Here in the nacelle (upper left) it’s very crowded. The round blue gearbox connects the turbine blades to the generator – that blue box in the upper right corner. On the lower left you see the controller, a computer that sends information about the turbine, and controls the pitch and yaw and other things that the turbine does. Let’s open the top door and go outside!
After the long climb inside the turbine it’s good to feel the wind and fresh air. What a view! Off in the distance we can see the other turbines. Are you ready to climb out?
First things first: let’s hook up our safety harness because it’s a long way down and we don’t want to fall. Notice the rough surface on the top of the nacelle. That’s so our shoes won’t slip on the surface of the nacelle. See the other turbines? This is a big wind farm.
As we move around to the back of the nacelle we can check on the anemometer, which measures wind speed and direction. This turbine is part of a wind farm with 67 turbines. This is farm country, and the fields are just being prepared for spring planting.
We are 300 feet (92 meters) high in the air. From here, it feels like you can see the world!