6.1. Evolution of wind energy technology
6.1.1. Brief history
In France, research began to develop during the 1920s (20 m diameter, two-
bladed wind turbine, CEM company), then in the 1950s-1960s (30 m three-bladed
machine and 800 kW synchronous generator in Nogent le Roi; 35 m two-bladed
machine with 1 MW induction generator in Saint Rémy des Landes [ARG 82]). In
1978 in Denmark, a 54 m three-bladed machine with a power of 2 MW was built.
In Vermont in the USA in 1941, a two-bladed wind turbine of 1,250 kW
(synchronous machine) was tested. Numerous experimental installations
(particularly in California) enabled developers to perfect the turbines, emergency
braking systems, towers and the different monitoring devices, giving rise to viable
and competitive wind turbines. Various solutions have been explored, notably
vertical axis turbines known as Darrieus turbines (after their inventor), but almost
the only machines running today are 3-bladed horizontal-axis turbines.
At the beginning of the 1980s in California, the first large-scale experiment (the
Californian “wind rush”, see Figure 6.1) was carried out, with medium-power
turbines (55 kW), and thanks to a highly proactive fiscal incentive. Thus the number
Chapter written by Cristian NICHITA and Brayima DAKYO.