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JOSE MANUEL MARTINEZ
Wind energy is the outcome of harvesting the wind power by the installation of huge wind turbines in areas where the wind blows most of the time at a certain average speed. The wind turbines have huge propeller blades that are about 100 feet long that requires a minimum wind velocity in order to rotate and produce electricity.
There are a few major manufacturers of wind turbines from 0.5 to 2.0 Megawatts/hour in output at a certain wind speed. These are General Electric, Siemens, Vestas, etc.
The equipment design of these turbines is based on the electric generator design, the mechanical transmission design to transfer power from the wind propeller to the generator shaft, and the aerodynamic design of the propeller with an adjustable pitch blade to effectively harvest the wind power at any speed.
. The other important factor is the location of the wind turbines farm and its orientation to the prevalent wind current.
I guess that the major effort in the future of this technology is to reduce the cost and size of the generator winding which is still made out of copper and the reduction of the maintenance cost of these large structures. A wind turbine farm producing 1200 Mw of electric power (the output of a large power plant today) will require about 1200 wind turbines at 1 Mw each, located over thousands of acres of land..
I would recommend a degree in electrical engineering with a strong minor in mechanical engineering courses to address the challenges of this technology in the next 40 years
The first thing you need to ask yourself is what part of wind energy most interests you? If the research and development is what you lean toward, then Mechanical Engineering may be a great direction to pursue. If the installation of wind power mechanisms is what you like, then there are many domestic companies that install wind turbine technology.