Wind Energy Development

  • David Milborrow
Part of the Innovative Renewable Energy book series (INREE)


Wind energy technology has been characterised by a very rapid growth in capacity which is now approaching 600 GW, worldwide. Machine sizes have grown from 10 to 20 m diameter in the early 1980s, and the largest machines are now over 160 m diameter, with larger machines under development. The rated output of the largest machines is now around 10 MW. During the last 40 years, numerous design configurations have been used, but the industry has now settled on three-blade rotors that run upwind of the tower. There is an increasing focus on direct-drive wind turbines, but there are still numerous manufacturers offering geared machines. Although there has been some interest in vertical-axis wind turbines, the concept has not been taken up at megawatt-scale, although there is still some work in progress. As machines have grown in size, they have benefited from the higher wind speeds found at greater heights, and so energy productivity has increased.

Offshore wind offers access to a potentially huge resource, and capacity has grown, from a modest start in the 1990s, and there is now around 22 GW, worldwide. Offshore wind offers challenges and opportunities, with fewer constraints on size. An examination of the performance of two Danish wind farms over several years suggests that availability can be maintained, as output has been in line with initial projections.

Now that wind energy has become increasingly competitive with the fossil fuel sources, it is expected that the rate of growth will at least be maintained or possibly increased.


Wind energy Wind turbines Wind turbine technology 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • David Milborrow
    • 1
  1. 1.ConsultantLewesUK

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