Vernier Software and Technology
Vernier Software & Technology

Power Curves

Figure from experiment 13 from Renewable Energy with Vernier


Wind turbine power curves describe how much power a wind turbine can extract from the wind at a variety of different wind speeds. Most power curves have a fairly similar shape, but each model of wind turbine has a unique power curve based on its design characteristics. By examining the power output curve, you can tell when a wind turbine will start generating power, its maximum power output, and in what type of wind regime it will comfortably generate power.

While power curves are interesting to analyze and can help us identify certain wind turbine characteristics, they are often misinterpreted. A power curve will not, by itself, give us a good idea of how much energy a wind turbine will actually produce at a given site. It can only give us an idea of the instantaneous power a turbine may generate at a particular wind speed. In order to estimate energy generation, we would also need a wind speed distribution graph, which displays the frequency that the wind blows at a range of wind speeds.


  • Describe a power curve and its importance in understanding blade efficiency.
  • Generate a power curve for a classroom wind turbine.

Sensors and Equipment

This experiment features the following Vernier sensors and equipment.

Additional Requirements

You may also need an interface and software for data collection. What do I need for data collection?

Renewable Energy with Vernier

See other experiments from the lab book.

1Renewable Energy: Why is it So Important?
2What is Energy?
3Project: Energy Audit
4Voltage and Circuits
5Current and Resistors
6Mechanical Power
8Exploring Wind Turbines
9Effect of Load on Wind Turbine Output
10Blade Variables and Power Output
12Turbine Efficiency
13Power Curves
14Power and Energy
15Project: Maximum Energy Output
16Project: Build a Wind Farm
17Exploring Solar Panels
18Effect of Load on Solar Panel Output
19Variables Affecting Solar Panel Output
20Effect of Temperature on Solar Panel Output
21Project: Build a Solar Charger
22Exploring Passive Solar Heating
23Variables Affecting Passive Solar Heating
24Exploring Solar Collectors
25Variables Affecting Solar Collectors
26Project: Solar Cooker

Experiment 13 from Renewable Energy with Vernier Lab Book

<i>Renewable Energy with Vernier</i> book cover

Included in the Lab Book

Vernier lab books include word-processing files of the student instructions, essential teacher information, suggested answers, sample data and graphs, and more.

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