Wind is already a powerful player in renewable energy. The Global Wind Energy Council estimates the total generating capacity of the world’s wind farms is now greater than all nuclear power plants combined, 487 gigawatts versus 393 gigawatts.
In order to make sure that power is being generated as efficiently as possible, LM Wind Power of Denmark — the world’s largest maker of wind turbine blades GE acquired in April — puts its products through a barrage of tests to make sure they last as long as possible in even the most punishing weather.
In a recent episode of the GE web series “In The Wild,” host Alie Ward visited LM’s testing facility in Denmark. Local workers showed her how the giant blades — the company makes blades for rotors as large as 180 meters in diameter — are pushed beyond their limits in conditions that include a two-week downpour and wind force meant to replicate a once-every-100-years typhoon. Ward gave the wind tunnel a try to find out what that kind of gale feels like.
The tests may be grueling, but the payoff is worth it. Optimised wind blades can help wind farm operators earn more money and ensure reliable supply of renewable energy. Take a look.