Research to improve wind energy

With 3925 MW of installed capacity, wind power is extremely significant for Enel Green Power, which besides participating in the growth of this sector at a global level, invests in the research of new solutions to improve its efficiency.

In 2011 at a global level wind energy grew by 40 GW, a 28% increase compared with 2010, and by 2030 it could produce more than half of the world’s energy. The latter is found in a study published by US researcher from the University of Delaware and Stanford University.

With about 3925 MW of installed capacity, wind is extremely significant for Enel Green Power, which not only plays a central role by putting new plants online around the world, but also invests in the research for new solutions aimed at increasing the efficiency of this technology.

For example, by conducting forecasting studies to increase the knowledge on winds, with the purpose of identifying the most suitable sites and optimising the size of plants and the location of the single blades These large-scale studies use numeric models to review many years of regional and national observation and measuring, in order to achieve a map that shows the most promising sites in terms of wind resources.

Then wind analyses are performed at the chosen location, with measurements lasting up to two years. Monitoring goes on also after the plant has been completed, while it is already online. This way highly significant data is gathered allowing to improve the construction of future plants.

One of Enel’s true technological jewels is the ‘dragonfly’, as the wind blade developed by Renzo Piano together with Enel Green Power is called. The dragonfly expresses a new concept of turbines, with new increasingly light and resilient materials, in order to achieve plants that are more sensitive to winds that blow at reduced heights and are diffused on the land.

With a capacity of 55 kW, it allows continuous electricity generation, since it can harness even the lightest winds, blowing 2 metres a second.

A double-blade solution has been chosen instead of a three-blade one, in order to make it one third less visible and, when there is absolutely no wind at all, to produce a thin vertical line that includes the towers and the two aligned vertical blades. The small wind blade created by Renzo Piano, that is used in Italy, will also be used for micro-generation in the United States, where small wind is since long traditional, as well as in France, Spain and Greece.