No, I didn’t know that about high winds shutting down the turbines, prior to learning it here, today. Doesn’t make sense, but after pondering it for a minute or two, I guess it does.
Spent a lot of growing-up years in Oklahoma, where windmills stood sentinel at every farmhouse and they seemed to be running more often than not, when I was driving past them.
As it happens, the days the TX windfarm went down were also the days that same weather front was passing thru here in my town in far SE TX and we had very gusty winds, which is unusual for here.
Its not just a question of shutdown due to possible high wind speed damage, its a question of efficiency.
Here is a typical efficiency curve for a 3 blade windmill.
When the wind energy charlatans quote you power numbers they quote peak not average power. In reality the wind usually isn't blowing at the ideal velocity.
In isolated locations where the cost to run a grid connection is high, locally generated energy makes sense, even if it is intermittent. Pumping water from a well into a cistern, for example.
Rural electrification changed things. My grandfather lived on a farm in rural NJ in the early 1900s and they had a windmill for pumping water. He was always worried about running out of water from the cistern when there were extended periods when the wind didn't blow. When rural electrification came in the first thing he did was tear down his windmill. He had a monthly utility bill to pay, but never worried again about lacking water.
“No, I didnt know that about high winds shutting down the turbines, prior to learning it here, today.”
The classic old windmill, with the wooden blades, had a “tail” that was part of the wind speed regulator. In low speed wind the tail was straight back so the blades faced the wind. As the blade speed went up, gears moved the tail to the side, so that the blades would face the wind more and more edge-on, it was a governor that kept the windmill from ripping itself apart and kept the system near the peak in the power curve.
The modern 30 foot turbines must do something similar, but I don’t know what.