Around the world, people are looking into ways to create sustainable and renewable energy. One of those ways is to use wind turbines. Wind turbines generate power when the wind blows and spins the blades around. As the blades turn, they generate electricity that can be transmitted to a power company for them to distribute to their customers. Wind power has been used for centuries to do things like pump water into wells and grind grains, so using it to create electricity is just the next step. Hydraulic systems are a big part of what makes the large, industrial wind turbines function at their peak performance.


Hydraulics are a fluid powered system. As fluid is released into certain areas and activates particular cylinders, the cylinders control whatever they are attached to. For example, rear hatch doors in cars use hydraulic cylinders to open the doors. When you open the door, you activate the cylinder and the fluid pushes the piston out so that the door opens and stays open. When you apply pressure to close the door, the piston goes back into the cylinder and moves the liquid back into its reservoir so that the door will close. The same basic principle works with wind turbines. The cylinders are activated, and they control aspects of the wind turbine.

Hydraulics and Wind Turbines

While there are several jobs that hydraulics can do on wind turbines, there are two really important ones. They can control the pitch of the blades and the yaw of the nacelle the blades are attached to.

Pitch control

Pitch control of the wind turbine blades refers to changing the angle of attack that the blades are at. As the wind speed changes, the angle that the blades are set at needs to change. The higher the wind speed, the more perpendicular to the wind the blade needs to be. That will still catch the wind, but since the wind is only catching the edge of the blade, the turbine won't spin too fast causing damage. As the wind slows down, the hydraulics can automatically adjust the blades so that they will catch more of the wind. 

Yaw control

Yaw is the way that the nacelle spins on the top of its tower. The nacelle spins entire blade assembly around so that the blades are always facing the wind. That way the turbines are always creating power.

Wind turbines are a good way to generate a large amount of clean energy. Hydraulics help to make it happen.

Contact a company, such as Clearwater Hydraulics & Drive Shaft Service, for more information.