Wind Energy Basics
Learn the basics of wind power generationWind energy is a very old form of power. Ships have used wind energy to power vessels across oceans, and windmills in the Netherlands and elsewhere have used wind power generation for many uses, from pumping water to grinding grain.
In today’s world, wind power energy is generating not only power, but interest, as people search for renewable forms of energy to counterbalance dependence on fossil fuels. It’s not a question of if, but when, as companies seek alternative sources of power. To begin learning about wind energy basics, consider the following questions:
1. What is wind energy?
2. What is a wind turbine and how does it work?
3. How do people use wind energy?
Search in the sun for the basics of wind power
Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy site. For additional information, visit the website of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.
Turn your attention to wind turbine workingsYou will see wind turbines mounted on towers. That's because it's easier for a turbine to catch the wind when it's about 100 feet above ground, where the wind is swifter and less turbulent. A turbine has either two or three blades, which look like propeller blades, mounted on a shaft to create a rotor. As the wind blows over the blades, much like lift on an airplane wing, it creates motion, which turns the rotor.
Energy Information Administration page of a wind turbine with a horizontal axis, along with a description of a turbine with a vertical axis. For more information on wind turbines, go to the American Wind Energy Association.
Learn how to use a wind turbine todayWind turbines are wind power generators, converting the mechanical power from the shaft into electricity. Usually private landowners or wind energy companies place them in areas where the wind blows about 14 mph. In Spirit Lake, Iowa, two wind turbines supply more than enough electricity for an elementary school. Wind power companies build groups of wind turbines, called wind farms, to generate electricity for larger areas. Landowners often use single turbines to pump water or communications.
- When it comes to a wind turbine, local regulations may apply regarding erecting a wind tower. Check before starting to build one.
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