Technology Research Area:
What is wind energy, and what does it have to do with TVA's mission?
TVA is firmly committed to clean, efficient power generation. Energy generated at towers topped with wind turbines is produced with even less impact on the environment than solar photovoltaic power. The technology is fully developed and is producing power at many locations across the country.
A computer controls each turbine, turning the blades to face into the wind and adjusting the pitch of the blades in response to changes in the speed of the wind. The blades turn a shaft, which spins a generator to produce electricity. For safety, the turbine shuts down if wind speeds rise above 55 mph.
What is TVA doing about it?
TVA produces wind energy in its service area, purchases more from outside the region and is interested in adding more wind power to its energy mix.
What are the possibilities for wind power?
Many states require that utilities use wind power in mandated renewable power portfolio standards. The federal government may enact similar renewable portfolio standards. Wind generation technology is clean and well-developed, and its use is sure to grow.
New technologies have been developed to limit dangers that the spinning blades pose to birds. Larger turbines, advanced materials and controls, and improved capabilities for energy storage could help increase the use of wind power. Its use is limited mainly by the finite number of windy sites and, in some cases, objections to the effect of the turbines on local vistas.