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Wind power

Wind power -
The numbers in 4 pictures


How tall is a wind turbine? How many parts make up a rotor? Find out more about wind farms in 4 pictures.

November 22th 2023


Viewed from below, the height of a wind tower is very impressive. But how big is the structure that supports both the turbine and rotor? The height of the support tower varies from 50 to 150 meters above the ground. Add to this the height of the rotating blade, which can easily exceed 200 meters at its highest point. These measurements are commonplace for new onshore developments. Offshore heights vary depending on the type of anchorage. For example, the Haliade-X is 260 meters tall at the tip and has a rotor wingspan of 220 meters, capable of generating enough electricity to power 16,000 households. This type of turbine is used at Dogger Bank, the offshore wind farm off the east coast of Yorkshire.


This is a nacelle or gondola, but it has nothing to do with Venice! It is actually the name given to the rotating part of the turbine, installed at the top of the tower. It follows the wind direction and houses the various generating components of the turbine. Usually, a turbine is made of up to 8,000 assembled parts. When was the first wind turbine manufactured? Records reveal an experiment carried out in 1887 by two Scottish college professors in Marykirk, Kincardineshire. This consisted of wooden blades hoisted 10 meters high on a tower, which managed to produce enough electricity to power a cottage.


How many blades does a turbine need? It depends. There are single-blade turbines, but these are inefficient and noisy, so not very popular. Those with two 180° blades are inexpensive but perform well only on a small scale, so they are used for smaller installations. And then there are the more popular three-blade turbines, with blades set 120° apart: these are more balanced and thus ensure better performance and quieter operation. The rotor of an onshore blade can reach 170 meters in width, the equivalent of three Olympic swimming pools placed lengthways. The wind turbines are mostly made of metal, and are therefore recyclable. The blades are made of fiberglass and epoxy matrix compounds. With the most modern recycling systems, these components can be reused at the end of their service life.


How many people work on the construction of a wind power plant? It takes around 100 skilled workers, with construction lasting from 2 to 24 months, depending on the size and complexity of the plant. These are professionally trained experts in their field. It is estimated that wind power jobs will quadruple over the next six years; these include construction workers. An estimated four million workers will be employed by 2030 according to numbers released by the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC). In 2018, the sector provided jobs to 1.2 million employees.

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