Wiring Technology for Renewable Wind Energy

Turbines leverage power from the wind to provide clean, reliable energy. The renewable energy industry continues to grow and today the global wind power capacity sits at 743 gigawatts, according to the Global Wind Energy Council.


Wind turbines powering this production may be situated on land or offshore. A wind turbine has propeller-shaped blades that spin around a rotor when they capture airflow. The rotor’s movement spins a generator, creating electricity. Offshore turbines are significantly larger and can generate more energy thanks to the massive power of ocean winds.

To maximize production, both kinds of turbines are often arranged into farms in very winds areas. However, they can also be installed at, or near, the site where the power will be used. In this case, they are referred to as distributed wind.

The Instrumentation and Design Behind Large-Scale Wind Power

A typical turbine consists of blades connected to a rotor, both mounted on a tall shaft. The rotor connects to the nacelle, which is the box that contains the generator. Wind turbine cables are necessary to connect these components, but also to transport energy from the generator to its place of storage or usage.

To function outdoors under varied conditions, wind turbine construction materials must be rugged while remaining lightweight. This is especially critical when considering offshore wind energy technology, which is buffeted by salt water and high winds.

Wind Turbine Construction Materials: Wire & Cable

What are Wind Farm Cables?

Wind farm cables are the conductors used within wind farms, as well as those used to connect large-scale wind power to the electrical grid.

Types of Wind Farm Cables

Wind turbine energy cables vary in size, construction, and application. A typical turbine requires low-voltage cables in the nacelle, along with medium- and high-voltage cables to transport power within and beyond the tower. Control cables are also necessary to manage the flow of electricity.

Selection Considerations

Different cables should be used at different points in a turbine or wind farm. Key considerations include:

  • Size: A cable’s size determines its voltage capacity and influences its physical properties, such as flexibility and torsional strength.
  • Insulation: Wind farm cables are often exposed to very low temperatures, saltwater, and oil. The entire cable’s construction should support these possibilities, but the most critical is its insulation.
  • Conductor: Both conductor size and material are considerable factors for selecting wind power cabling. Aluminum cables are increasingly replacing copper cables as tower and base components because aluminum is cheaper and 60% lighter than copper. As for size, the larger the internal area of a conductor, the less resistance it creates. This allows cables to produce less heat and allow more current to pass through the conductor.

Within the nacelle of a turbine, cables should be flexible and be able to resist vibrations and chemical exposures. The cables used to transport power should be larger to accommodate higher voltage, and they should have high torsional strength to withstand winds and turbine rotation.

To ensure that a cable can withstand the tough conditions of wind power applications, look for Wind Turbine Tray Cable (WTTC) approval and high flex rating.

 Wind Power Systems

Wind Power Systems 3D ebook Cover


Wind Energy Cables & Accessories

Wind Energy Cables & Accessories


AWG Wind Power Cable Supplier

American Wire Group’s durable cables are ideal for wind power applications, including our TowerGuard®  line tailored specifically to wind applications. Our patented TowerGuard® CCA 2kV weighs and costs approximately 35% less than conventional copper RHH/RHW-2 cables. Its flexibility and chemical resistance makes it ideal for use in both turbines and solar power generators.

AWG offers a full range of wire and cable suitable for wind power applications. For full details on our wind power products are available on our line card.

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