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In this paper, a wind energy conversion system (WECS) using a grid-connected wound rotor induction machine controlled from the rotor side is compared with both fixed speed and variable speed systems using a cage rotor induction machine. The comparison is done on, the basis of: (1) major hardware components required; (2) operating region; and (3) energy output due to a defined wind function using the characteristics of a practical wind turbine. Although a fixed speed system is more simple and reliable, it severely limits the energy output of a wind turbine. In case of variable speed systems, comparison shows that using a wound rotor induction machine of similar rating can significantly enhance energy capture. This comes about due to the ability to operate with rated torque even at supersynchronous speeds; power is then generated out of the rotor as well as the stator. Moreover, with rotor side control, the voltage rating of the power devices and DC bus capacitor bank is reduced. The size of the line side inductor also decreased. Results are presented to show the substantial advantages of the doubly fed system.