U.S. Department of Energy - Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy
How Does a Wind Turbine Work?
Wind turbines operate on a simple principle. The energy in the wind turns two or three propeller-like blades around a rotor. The rotor is connected to the main shaft, which spins a generator to create electricity.
Wind turbines are mounted on a tower to capture the most energy. At 100 feet (30 meters) or more above ground, they can take advantage of faster and less turbulent wind.
Wind turbines can be used to produce electricity for a single home or building, or they can be connected to an electricity grid (shown here) for more widespread electricity distribution.