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08/17/2004

Many wind turbines, one generator

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  Current wind turbines are EACH equipped with a generator and a gearbox. We know large generators (such as used in electricity power plants) are more efficient, would it make sense to connect an array of wind mills via driveshaft to one large generator on the ground.
  Advantages:
1) high(er) efficiency generator
2) use only one big generator, not many small ones
3) big generator on the ground is easy to maintain (no climbing in towers)
4) individual wind mills can be cheaper (basically rotor, nacelle, tower and driveshaft)
5) total cost of such a wind energy cluster may be cheaper.
  Obviously some energy is lost in transporting mechanical energy via driveshafts. But since wind itself is free and if the total cost per generated kW is cheaper in this configuration - it might bring down the price per kW in this cluster configuration.
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