“Sometimes the wind has been our enemy out here. My thought was there is a lot of wind up there. If they could turn that into something good for this area, that was great. But it had to be good.”

– Vic Thomas, 82, Kansas farmer

How does a turbine work?

Tap an item to learn more

Rotor blades

Rotor blades can swivel on the hub at the front so they meet the wind at the best angle, or pitch, for harvesting energy.

Brake

Brake

For safety reasons, during high wind or turbulence the brake is applied to stop the rotor blades from turning. The brake is also applied during routine maintenance.

Central Drive Shaft

The spinning rotors capture kinetic energy from the wind turning the central drive shaft. Although the outer edges of the rotor blades move very fast, the drive shaft turns quite slowly.

Gearbox

Gearbox

Inside the nacelle the gearbox converts the low-speed rotation of the drive shaft into high-speed rotation. (From about 16 rpm to about 1600 rpm.) Now fast enough to drive the generator efficiently.

Generator

The generatortakes kinetic energy from the spinning drive shaft and turns it into electrical energy. Running at maximum capacity, a typical 2MW turbine generator will produce 2 million watts of power at about 700 volts.

Anemometer

The anemometer and wind vane on the back of the nacelle provides measurements of the wind speed and direction.

Yaw motor and yaw drive

Using measurements from the anemometer and wind vane the rotor blades and nacelle can be rotated by a yaw motor so it faces directly into the oncoming wind and capture the maximum amount of energy.

Electric current

The electric current produced by the generator flows through a cable running down through the inside of the turbine tower.

Powering the Plains

Wind used to be a farmers’ nemeses.

Then it created power, and became a savior for land that doesn't always yield a bountiful harvest.

Kansas has seen more growth in the wind energy industry than any other state except Texas. On some days, wind generates between a third and half of the electricity to Kansas and surrounding states, creating thousands of jobs.

The tall turbines slicing through the skies above the plains now help support schools, libraries and fire departments in once economically depressed areas. Farmers whose cattle now graze beneath the bladed behemoths are benefitting from $15 million in payments to Kansas landowners just last year.

READ MORE

The power of Kansas wind

Where does the wind blow?

Tap a turbine to learn more

  • Location: Gray County
  • Developer: NextEra Energy Resources LLC
  • Size (MW): 112.2
  • Power offtaker: MKEC/KCP&L
  • Turbine type: Vestas 660kW
  • Installed Turbines: 170
  • Service began: 2001
  • Location: Butler County
  • Developer: Iberdrola
  • Size (MW): 150
  • Power offtaker: Empire
  • Turbine type: GE 1.5 MW
  • Installed Turbines: 100
  • Service began: 2005
  • Location: Ford County
  • Developer: enXco
  • Size (MW): 100.4
  • Power offtaker: KCP&L
  • Turbine type: GE 1.5 MW
  • Installed Turbines: 67
  • Service began: 2006
  • Location: Ford County
  • Developer: enXco/EDP Renewable Energy
  • Size (MW): 48
  • Power offtaker: KCP&L
  • Turbine type: GE 1.5 MW
  • Installed Turbines: 32
  • Service began: 2010
  • Location: Ford County
  • Developer: enXco/EDP Renewable Energy
  • Size (MW): 100.8
  • Power offtaker: KCP&L
  • Turbine type: GE 1.6 MW
  • Installed Turbines: 63
  • Service began: 2012
  • Location: Lincoln & Ellsworth Counties
  • Developer: TradeWind Energy/EGPA
  • Size (MW): 100.8
  • Power offtaker: Sunflower-50 KCBPU-25 Midwest Energy-24
  • Turbine type: Vestas 1.8 MW
  • Installed Turbines: 56
  • Service began: 2008
  • Location: Lincoln & Ellsworth Counties
  • Developer: TradeWind Energy/EGPA
  • Size (MW): 150
  • Power offtaker: Sunflower-24 Midwest Energy-24 IP&L-15 Springfield-50
  • Turbine type: GE 1.5 MW
  • Installed Turbines: 99
  • Service began: 2008
  • Location: Cloud County
  • Developer: Horizon/EDP Renewables
  • Size (MW): 201
  • Power offtaker: Empire-105 Westar-96
  • Turbine type: Vestas 3 MW
  • Installed Turbines: 67
  • Service began: 2008
  • Location: Barber County
  • Developer: BP Wind Energy
  • Size (MW): 100
  • Power offtaker: Westar
  • Turbine type: Clipper 2.5 MW
  • Installed Turbines: 40
  • Service began: 2009
  • Location: Barber, Kingman, & Harper Counties
  • Developer: BP Wind Energy/Sempra
  • Size (MW): 470.4
  • Power offtaker: AECI
  • Turbine type: GE 1.6 MW
  • Installed Turbines: 294
  • Service began: 2012
  • Location: Wichita County
  • Developer: RES Americas
  • Size (MW): 99
  • Power offtaker: Westar
  • Turbine type: Vestas 3 MW
  • Installed Turbines: 33
  • Service began: 2009
  • Location: Kiowa County
  • Developer: John Deere Exelon
  • Size (MW): 12.5
  • Power offtaker: Kansas Power Pool
  • Turbine type: Suzlon 1.2 MW
  • Installed Turbines: 10
  • Service began: 2010
  • Location: Elk County
  • Developer: TradeWind Energy/EGPA
  • Size (MW): 200
  • Power offtaker: Tennessee Valley Authority
  • Turbine type: Vestas 1.8 MW
  • Installed Turbines: 111
  • Service began: 2011
  • Location: Lincoln & Ellsworth Counties
  • Developer: Wind Capital Group
  • Size (MW): 201
  • Power offtaker: Westar
  • Turbine type: GE 1.5 MW
  • Installed Turbines: 134
  • Service began: 2012
  • Location: Ford & Hodgeman Counties
  • Developer: Duke Energy Sumitomo Corporation of America
  • Size (MW): 168
  • Power offtaker: Westar
  • Turbine type: Siemens 2.3 MW
  • Installed Turbines: 73
  • Service began: 2012
  • Location: Gray County
  • Developer: Competitive Power Venture (CPV) NextEra Energy Resources LLC
  • Size (MW): 165
  • Power offtaker: Tennessee Valley Authority
  • Turbine type: Siemens 2.3 MW
  • Installed Turbines: 72
  • Service began: 2012
  • Location: Gray County
  • Developer: Competitive Power Venture (CPV) Duke Energy Sumitomo
  • Size (MW): 131
  • Power offtaker: KCP&L
  • Turbine type: Siemens 2.3 MW
  • Installed Turbines: 57
  • Service began: 2012
  • Location: Kiowa County
  • Developer: Clipper/Infinity
  • Size (MW): 105
  • Power offtaker: Mid-Kansas Electric Company
  • Turbine type: GE 1.6 MW
  • Installed Turbines: 65
  • Service began: 2012
  • Location: Gray County
  • Developer: NextEra Energy Resources LLC
  • Size (MW): 99
  • Power offtaker: KCP&L
  • Turbine type: Siemens 2.3 MW
  • Installed Turbines: 43
  • Service began: 2012
  • Location: Finney, Grant & Haskell Counties
  • Developer: TradeWind Energy/EGPA
  • Size (MW): 249.75
  • Power offtaker: Alabama Power
  • Turbine type: GE 1.85 MW
  • Installed Turbines: 135
  • Service began: 2013
  • Location: Ellis County
  • Developer: Invenergy
  • Size (MW): 200
  • Power offtaker: Lincoln Electric Service
  • Turbine type: GE 1.7 MW
  • Installed Turbines: 112
  • Service began: 2015
  • Location: Rush County
  • Developer: NJR Clean Energy Ventures
  • Size (MW): 49.5
  • Power offtaker: KCBPU Yahoo
  • Turbine type: Siemens 2.3 MW
  • Installed Turbines: 21
  • Service began: 2015
  • Location: Sumner County
  • Developer: EDF Renewables
  • Size (MW): 150
  • Power offtaker: Great Plains Energy (parent company of KCP&L)
  • Turbine type: Vestas 2.0 MW
  • Installed Turbines: 75
  • Service began: 2015
  • Location: Rush County
  • Developer: RPM Access Wind Development
  • Size (MW): 74
  • Power offtaker: Missouri Joint Municipal Electric Utility Commission (7 KMEA)
  • Turbine type: Vestas 2.0 MW
  • Installed Turbines: 36
  • Service began: 2016
  • Location: Coffey County
  • Developer: EDP Renewables
  • Size (MW): 200
  • Power offtaker: KCP&L
  • Turbine type: Gamesa 2.0 MW
  • Installed Turbines: 95
  • Service began: 2016
  • Location: Ford County
  • Developer: Infinity
  • Size (MW): 280
  • Power offtaker: Westar
  • Turbine type: Siemens
  • Installed Turbines: 133
  • Service began: 2016
  • Location: Ness & Trego Counties
  • Developer: NextEra Energy Resources LLC
  • Size (MW): 200
  • Power offtaker: Westar
  • Turbine type: GE 1.79 MW
  • Installed Turbines: 111
  • Service began: 2015
  • Location: Pratt County
  • Developer: NextEra Energy Resources LLC
  • Size (MW): 200
  • Power offtaker: Westar
  • Turbine type: GE 2.0 MW
  • Installed Turbines: 100
  • Service began: 2016
  • Location: Kingman County
  • Developer: NextEra Energy Resources LLC
  • Size (MW): 200
  • Power offtaker: Westar
  • Turbine type: GE 1.79 MW
  • Installed Turbines: 120
  • Service began: 2017
  • Location: Clark County
  • Developer: TradeWind Energy/EGPA
  • Size (MW): 400
  • Power offtaker: KCBPU 200 MW Google 200 MW
  • Turbine type: Vestas 2.0 MW
  • Installed Turbines: 200
  • Service began: 2017

How does it get to your home?

Tap an item to learn more