Wind farm

September 17, 2008, 12:18 pm
Source: Encyclopedia of Earth
A wind farm. (Source: National Renewable Energy Laboratory)
A wind farm. (Source: National Renewable Energy Laboratory)

Generally it is expected that a wind farm consists of more than three wind turbines. Modern wind farms may have capacities in the order of hundreds of megawatts, and are installed offshore as well as on land. Modern wind farms generally are connected to the high voltage transmission system, in contrast to the early application of wind energy for electricity production with wind turbines individually connected to the low- to medium-voltage distribution system. Hence, modern wind farms are considered power plants with responsibilities for control, stability, and power balance. Thus, wind farms are required to contribute to the control of voltage, frequency and reactive power needs in the power system and stay on-line during less critical grid faults, and to help maintain the stability of the power system. While wind farm production cannot exceed the power given by the instantaneous wind resource, capabilities for regulating the power output at time scales consistent with the power system needs, powering up and down, are also included in order to assist with balancing and stabilizing the power system.

Most of the other technical issues with wind farms are associated with the close spacing of multiple turbines. The close spacing implies that extraction of energy by wind turbines upwind will reduce the wind speed and increase the turbulence, which may cause reduced efficiency and higher loads on downwind turbines. Another technical issue for large wind farms is the grid connection and the integration into the power system. Large wind farms are very visible, especially at land and in coastal areas and this together with a number of environmental concerns, such as possible disturbance of migrating birds and bats, play an important role in the wind farm planning process and can result in selection of sites with less than optimal wind conditions. However, good wind conditions are essential for the economics viability of any wind project, and methods for accurately predicting wind climates at specific sites worldwide is constantly being improved.

Further Reading

  • Erik Lundtang Petersen and Peter Hauge Madsen. 2004. Wind farms. In, Cutler J. Cleveland, Editor, The Encyclopedia of Energy, vol 6., pp. 449-463.
Peterson, Erik and Peter Madsen (Lead Authors); Cutler J. Cleveland (Topic Editor). 2007. "Wind farm." In: Encyclopedia of Earth. Eds. Cutler J. Cleveland (Washington, D.C.: Environmental Information Coalition, National Council for Science and the Environment). [First published in the Encyclopedia of Earth September 6, 2006; Last revised July 31, 2007; Retrieved September 17, 2008]. <>


(2008). Wind farm. Retrieved from


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