In this paper, various generator types and control systems employed in wind energy conversion systems have been reviewed with particular emphasis on systems including induction generators. Advantages and disadvantages of these systems and relative generator sizes are also discussed. Variable shaft speed schemes employing induction generators have been studied more closely and the important aspects of the findings are emphasized. Throughout the paper, the importance of maximizing the conversion efficiency is stressed. The parameters controlling the energy conversion are identified. Simple methods have been developed to determine the optimum parameters for a constant speed synchronous generator wind energy conversion system and a variable speed squirrel-cage induction generator wind energy conversion system. This last configuration is shown to have advantages from the viewpoint of energy production as well as some other aspects including simplicity and robustness.