Trends and evolution

Research is trying to solve what at present is the major problem of the production of wind energy: the discontinuous nature of the supply of energy due to the irregular wind regime. It must be pointed out that the gross efficiency of wind power plants, expressed in MW, defines the quantity of energy that can be produced in a determined period of time in which the plant operates, and it is the parameter that is considered in order to compare the productive possibilities of wind power generators with one another. However it must be considered that due to various factors, and first of all the variability of the wind, a wind power generator never operates for 24 hours a day for the whole year, but only for a certain number of hours. When the wind blows at speeds that are too low (v < 5-4 m/s)  the generator does not produce energy, while when the wind speed is too high (v > 20-25 m/s) the plants must be shut down for safety reasons. Therefore, a very important factor, in order to determine the productivity of the plants, is the number of hours of operation. In Italy the plants that operate for the greatest number of hours generally operate for about 3,200 hours a year (i.e. for about 38% of the time, considering that in a year there are 8,760 hours). However, the Italian national average is much lower, it amounts to 1,700 hours a year. In order to solve this problem and increase the number of hours of  utilization, research is trying to develop rotors that can produce energy and operate safely also with very low or very high speed winds. However there are limits beyond which no further improvement is possible, especially with regard to the efficiency at low speeds.

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From the Multimedia section

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  • energy

    Global installed wind capacity, top 10 countries, 2017

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    energy

    Wind power production in Italy

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  • energy

    Installed wind power in Europe in 2017

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    energy

    Beaufort wind scale

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  • energy

    Vertical axis generator

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    energy

    In the Flanders

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  • energy

    Global installed wind capacity, top 10 countries, 2017

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  • energy

    Wind power production in Italy

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  • energy

    Installed wind power in Europe in 2017

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