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Learn more about the components

The blades of the rotor harness the wind and transfer its energy to the hub of the rotor. Each blade of a 1.5-MW wind turbine measures about 30 to 35 m long and is quite similar in design to the wing of an airplane.         

The tower, the most striking component of the wind machine, is a gigantic steel structure that supports the wind turbine, contains the cables connecting the turbine to the collection system, and provides access to the nacelle. It can stand up to 100 metres in height, the equivalent of a 20-storey building, thus holding the nacelle high in the air where the winds are strongest and most constant.

The nacelle contains the main components of a wind turbine, including the gearbox and the generator. Service staff can enter the nacelle through the wind turbine tower. The wind turbine rotor - composed of the blades and the hub - is located at the front of the nacelle.

The hub is where the blades are connected to the machine's main (slow) shaft.

The wind turbine's main shaft connects the rotor hub to the gearbox. The rotor of a modern wind turbine rated at least 1 MW turns quite slowly, about 16 revolutions per minute. The shaft contains hoses for the hydraulic system that operates the brakes in the event of very strong winds.

The gearbox connects the main shaft to the fast shaft, stepping up the speed so rotation is over 100 times faster.

The fast shaft rotates about 1,800 times per minute and drives the electrical generator. It is equipped with a mechanical disk brake that is activated in the event of an emergency - for instance, if the aerodynamic brake fails - or when maintenance is being done on the wind turbine.

Kinetic energy (from movement) is converted into electrical energy by the generator.

The directional system is a motor that serves to keep the wind turbine turned into the wind at all times. It is operated by a control system, a computer that permanently monitors the condition of the machine and that of its environment by means of a wind vane that indicates wind direction and an anemometer that shows wind speed.