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How windy is too windy for wind turbines?

It varies from turbine to turbine, as different manufacturers and models have varied thresholds for when they must go into "storm mode".

DES MOINES, Iowa — Wind turbines account for a significant portion of the renewable energy the state uses every year for Iowans' energy needs. MidAmerican Energy says over 80% of energy that its customers use is renewable.

With a windy day like Monday, when winds gust between 30 and 45 mph, it's actually a perfect day to create even more wind power.

"From a renewable energy standpoint, this is a great month. We tend to produce lot of wind energy in the month of April, and even the months before and after it," Geoff Greenwood with MidAmerican Energy told Local 5.

Greenwood added the threshold for the turbines to be turned off, or into "storm mode", is sustained winds between 46 and 61 mph depending on each turbine.

When storm mode is activated, the blades change their angle with respect to the ground. The blades start to feather, making the angle flatter; reducing the surface contact with the wind. 

There is no change with the direction the turbine is facing: it still faces directly into the wind.

"We can expect that our wind turbines will be cranking out lots and lots of clean energy today," Greenwood said. 

Certainly doesn't hurt that plenty of sun was out Monday as well, furthering the renewable energy captured.

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