Wind Energy Information Page
What is Wind Energy?
A little-known fact is that wind energy is actually a type of solar energy. Winds are caused by the sun heating different portions of the atmosphere to different temperatures. The power generated by these winds can be harnessed using wind turbines. Wind turbines, or windmills, can be used to generate power or can be used for mechanic tasks like pumping grain. Wind energy has been harnessed for hundreds of years, and is one of the most commonly known forms of renewable energy.Advertisement:
The most common types of wind turbine used to capture wind energy looks similar to a fan, but works exactly the opposite. Instead of spinning to generate wind power, it is spun by the wind. The wind spins the blades which are connected to a shaft connected to a generator. This type of windmill is called a horizontal-axis turbine. Vertical-axis wind turbines that look similar to eggbeaters are also used to generate power. While they look different, they generally work in a similar manner.
Wind energy created by turbines can vary from enough power to run over a thousand homes from a single turbine to enough power to run a small pump. Wind turbines can vary in size from huge machines that span almost a hundred yards to small turbines that will fit in the backyard of most homes.
Good locations for wind farms aren't always the most convenient places to build, and they are often far from the electric grid. Wind is not a constant source of power, so a means of storing electricity is necessary to meet demands during periods when there is no wind. There have also been complaints that wind farms are unattractive and flying animals can fall victim to the spinning rotors.
Wind energy is a free resource, and is one that will continue to be supplied into the future. Windy areas generally stay windy, and wind energy is a non-polluting form of energy that doesn't have a negative impact on the environment. While the initial cost of setting up a wind farm can be cost prohibitive, it is more than offset by the fact there is no fuel to buy, ever. It is one of the cheapest renewable energies, with the cost coming in at between 4 to 6 cents per KW.
Landowners could potentially rent out space in windy areas to companies looking to generate wind through the use of wind turbines. Farmers could continue to farm the land, and potentially reap the benefits of renting space as well. Wind farms can also be built off-shore, where the aesthetics aren't as impacting to local residents.
Wind Energy Articles
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