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The power curve

Finn Gunnar Nielsen explains how the power production of a wind turbine varies with the wind speed - the "power curve".

Working with wind energy, you will meet the concept ‘power curve’. This curve describes the relation between wind speed and extracted power. In this lecture I will address how much energy it is possible to extract from the wind and how the generator limits the energy extraction.

Learning outcome.

  • Knowledge about the maximum extractable energy from the wind.
  • Knowledge about a how a pitch regulated HAWT operates at various wind speeds.


After having watched the video, reflect upon the following:

  • The wind varies over time (e.g., on yearly basis). What will give the highest yearly energy production: A site with large variation in wind speed (sometimes calm, others storm), or a site with a steady, moderate wind most of the time? Assume the yearly average wind speed on the two sites are equal.
  • How will a power curve be modified if you increase or decrease the rotor diameter, keeping the generator capacity (rated power) constant?
  • How will a power curve be modified if you increase or decrease the generator capacity (rated power) while keeping the rotor diameter constant?

Further reading.

Nielsen, F. G. (2024) Offshore Wind Energy: Environmental Conditions and Dynamics of Fixed and Floating Turbines, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press.

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Introduction to Offshore Wind Energy

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