A system and method for changing wind turbine rotor diameters to meet changing wind speeds and control system loads is disclosed. The rotor blades on the wind turbine are able to adjust length by extensions nested within or containing the base blade. The blades can have more than one extension in a variety of configurations. A cable winching system, a hydraulic system, a pneumatic system, inflatable or elastic extensions, and a spring-loaded jack knife deployment are some of the methods of adjustment. The extension is also protected from lightning by a grounding system.
This Invention was made with Government support under NREL Subcontract No. ZAM-7-13320-26, Prime Contract DE-AC36-83CHI0093, DOE Case No. S-104,777 awarded by the Department of Energy. The Government has certain rights in this invention.