The wind passes over the blades creating lift (like an aircraft wing) which causes the rotor to turn. The blades turn a low-speed shaft inside the nacelle: gears connect the low speed shaft of the rotor with a high speed shaft that drives a generator. Here, the slow rotation speed of the blades is increased to the high speed of generator revolution. Some wind turbines do not contain a gearbox and instead use a direct drive mechanism to produce power from the generator.
The rapidly spinning shaft drives the generator to produce electric energy. Electricity from the generator goes to a transformer which converts it to the right voltage for the electricity grid. The electricity is then transmitted via the electricity network.
See how a wind turbine works with EWEA’s interactive infographic!