How wind turbines transform wind into electricity that power our homes

The construction of Jeffreys Bay Wind Farm is forging ahead, with 50 of the 60 wind turbines already erected! These towering machines’ long rotor blades are majestically turning in the wind, and can be viewed by commuters from the N2. This spectacular sight is causing quite a stir amongst locals and visitors to the region, who are curious to understand how exactly power is created by these soaring machines.

“We are so pleased that the public are so engaged and interested in our Project about the process of creating power from the wind,” said Mark Pickering, General Manager of Jeffreys Bay Wind Farm. “Our Facebook page and call centre line are abuzz with questions,” he added.

In simple terms, here is an outline of how wind turbines can transform free wind into electricity that power our homes:

  • If the wind blows sufficiently, then wind energy is converted to mechanical energy through the turning turbine blades.
  • The turbine blades transfer this mechanical energy via the shaft and gearbox (the large box on top) to the electrical generator that turns the mechanical energy into electrical energy.
  • This electrical energy is then made grid compatible.
  • The grid compatible energy is fed from the Wind Turbines via a network of underground cables across the wind farm to the project substation. The substation forms the connection point between our “local” wind farm grid and Eskom’s national grid.
  • The Eskom grid then “supplies” this energy to the consumers.