Wind energy is used to drive a wind turbine, which is in turn connected to an electrical generator to produce electrical power. The pitch angle of the wind turbine blades is controlled in a closed loop manner to maintain either a constant generator speed for isolated power generating stations or when the generator is synchronized to the load, or constant generator output power or shaft torque when the generator is connected to an electrical grid. Open loop acceleration and deceleration schedules are provided to minimize blade stress and shaft torque variations during start up and shutdown transients, limiting blade angle excursions as a function of wind velocity and speed. The schedules may be implemented either electronically or by a suitably programmed digital computer. The gains in the speed, torque and power loop controls are scheduled as a function of average wind velocity to optimize stability and response. An anticipatory blade angle schedule responsive to instantaneous wind velocity is added to the desired blade angle reference from the closed loop controls to minimize transient excursions in output power or generator speed resulting from wind gusts.