The recent tornados in the southeast part of the United States is a stark reminder of the power of wind. More than 50 tornados touched down in Alabama, Tennessee, and Georgia alone with many more in another 3 states. In some places, entire cities were all but completely wiped out.
Harnessing the power and energy of wind is nothing new to scientists. Wind industry experts work to improve the quality of life by using the wind to generate electricity and pump water to remote places. According to the experts, while tornados are devastating, wind turbines are designed with safeguards against dangerously high winds.
According to Paul Copleman, spokesman for Iberdrola Renewable, turbines automatically shut off when their anemometers register winds above their survival speed of 130 miles per hour. During a tornado watch, remote operators can angle the blades to catch very little wind.
Wind farms are found in 38 states, many of them considered tornado territory. While risk in inevitable considering how common tornados are in areas like the Midwest, wind farm experts say the turbines are designed for the weather.
Only time will tell if these powerhouses can stand up to the same kind of wind power that ripped through the Southeast. Andrew Longeteig of Vestas, one of the largest producers of wind turbines, says that he is confident the turbines can survive such weather.