Let The Power Blow!
Wind energy is power derived from natural air movement called wind.
Wind is a complex natural occurrence, but simply stated, it is the result of the sun unevenly heating the Earths surface. Land heats up (and cools down) more quickly than the seas do. The difference in heating creates a global atmospheric convection system.
So basically - land, sea and air being heated and cooled at different speeds results in wind! Follow these links for more information on "what is wind" and how does wind power work.
Historically, sailboats and sailing ships have been using wind power for at least 5,500 years. The use of wind to provide mechanical and electrical power came somewhat later.
The first practical windmills were built from the 7th century onwards. These windmills were used to grind corn and draw up water.
Today, modern wind turbines produce about 1% of the total electricity used worldwide, and this is increasing rapidly. Good selection of wind turbine sites is a crucial factor to the economic development of wind power.
The modern wind turbine was developed in the 1980's and new designs are continually being developed.
There is an estimated 72 terawatts of wind energy on the Earth which could be commercially viable. This is more than five times the current power consumption of the whole world - counting all sources of energy!
The current capacity of wind turbines worldwide is approximately 94.1 gigawatts.
Globally wind power generation increased more than fivefold between 2000 and 2007.
Because the majority of power is generated by higher wind speeds, most of the available energy comes in short bursts. The consequence is that wind does not provide a consistent output of energy, as do other energy sources.
For wind power to provide a consistent source of power, it requires that storage technologies be used. The large amount of power, which is generated in these short bursts, can then be retained for later use.
The alternative - wind power is used along with another energy source such as solar. The two energy sources work together to smooth out the flow of power.
Wind power requires no fuel for operation, and creates no harmful emissions when producing electricity. Wind turbines do not produce carbon dioxide or any other type of pollution.
Wind is considered by experts to be more environmentally friendly than many other energy sources.
For more detailed information on wind energy, click the text links and select from the topics below:
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