Wind Glossary

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B

Biodiversity
  • Refers to the variety of ecosystems and animal, bird, fish and plant species.
C

Climate change
  • Term used to describe the view that the Earth’s temperature and climate will change, in part, due to the buildup of greenhouse gas emissions from human activities.
Controller
  • Device that starts up the turbine at wind speeds of above 13 kilometres per hour and shuts the machine down at speeds over 90 kilometres per hour for safety reasons.
Cumulative effects
  • Changes to the environment caused by an activity in combination with other past, present and reasonably foreseeable human activities.
D

Dispute resolution
  • Process to resolve conflicts in mutually beneficial ways, using techniques such as negotiation or third-party mediation instead of public hearings or courts
G

Gearbox
  • High efficiency gear system that increases the rotor-shaft speed for the generator.
Generator
  • An arrangement of magnets spinning inside a coil of wire to produce electricity.
Greenhouse effect
  • The warming of the Earth’s surface caused by the presence of carbon dioxide and other gases, known as greenhouse gases, in the atmosphere that trap the heat of the sun.
Greenhouse gases
  • Gases that trap heat near the Earth’s surface. These include carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide and water vapor. These gases occur through natural processes (such as ocean currents, cloud cover, volcanoes) and human activities (such as the burning of fossil fuels).
Grid
  • Network of high-voltage transmission lines.
N

Nacelle
  • The enclosure or casing on a horizontal axis wind turbine that houses the gearbox and generator.
National Energy Board (NEB)
  • The federal regulatory agency in Canada that authorizes oil, natural gas, and electricity exports; certifies interprovincial and international pipelines, and designated interprovincial and international power lines; and sets tolls and tariffs for oil and gas pipelines under federal jurisdiction.
Non-renewable resources
  • Natural resources that cannot be replaced after they have been consumed. This term applies particularly to fossil fuels such as coal, oil and natural gas, but also applies to other mineral resources found in the Earth's crust.
P

Pitch
  • The angle of the blades on a wind turbine. Blades are angled in such a way as to keep the rotor from turning in winds that are too high or too low to produce electricity.
Public consultation
  • The process of involving all affected parties in the design, planning and operation of a seismic program, an oil or gas well, pipeline, processing plant or other facility.
Public interest
  • Usually intended to mean the interest of the public generally as opposed to the interest of an individual or company.
R

Renewable energy
  • Naturally occurring energy sources that are continually replenished. Examples of renewable energy are wind, solar and water.
Rotor
  • Refers to the blades and hub of a wind turbine.
S

Stakeholders
  • People with an interest in industry activities that affect them. They may include nearby landowners, Aboriginal communities, recreational land users, other industries, environmental groups, governments and regulators.
Sustainable
  • Ecosystem condition in which biodiversity, renewability and resource productivity are maintained over time.
Sustainable development
  • Development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs (as defined by United Nations World Commission on Environment and Development).
T

Tower
  • Tubular structures, made of steel, to support wind turbines. Because wind speed increases with height, taller towers help turbines to capture more wind energy and generate more electricity.
Turbine
  • A rotary engine that converts the energy of a moving stream of water, steam or gas into mechanical energy. Turbines are classified as hydraulic (water) turbines, steam turbines or gas turbines. Turbine-power generators produce most of the world's electricity. Windmills that generate electicity are known as wind turbines.
W

Wind energy
  • Energy from moving air which is converted to electricity, by using wind to turn electricity generators.
Wind farm
  • Cluster of wind turbines for generating electricity. These are set up in areas where there are steady and prevalent winds.