Catch the Wind

by David Bodamer, Contributing Editor; Civil Engineering Magazine, ASCE World Headquarters, 1801 Alexander Bell Drive, Reston, VA.,


Serial Information: Civil Engineering—ASCE, 1999, Vol. 69, Issue 7, Pg. 50-53


Document Type: Feature article

Abstract: Wind turbines can now produce energy that is cost-competitive with other, more conventional power generation methods. The increased efficiency is due in part to the turbines' larger size. The largest turbines in use today have diameters of 50 m and turbines in development have diameters of more than 100 m. These structures can weigh more than 10 Mg and need to be positioned 50 to 100 m above ground. The requirements have created challenges for geotechnical and structural engineers who need to determine appropriate sites and foundations for the turbines. In addition, engineers are being called on to manage the largest-scale projects—some of which include up to 200 Mw-generating turbines—by overseeing the delivery of material to remote sites and, in some cases, the construction of new roads and buried and underground cabling systems.

Subject Headings: Design | Energy | Foundations | Turbines | Wind power

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