Wind Energy - Using Wind to Generate Electricity

How Wind Turbines Work
Types of Wind Turbines
Size of Wind Turbines
Wind Energy and the Environment

Wind is a clean and renewable energy source that can produce enough electricity to power millions of homes and businesses. In simple terms, wind is the movement of air created by the uneven heating of the surface of the earth by the sun. Today, wind energy is primarily used for the production of electricity.

The process by which wind is used to generate electricity is referred to as wind energy. Wind turbines convert wind's kinetic energy to mechanical power. This mechanical power can then be converted into electricity through the use of a generator.

How Wind Turbines Work

The kinetic energy of the wind is collected by the blades on the wind turbines. Similar to the wings on an aircraft, the wind flows over the airfoil shaped blades causing lift. This in turn causes the turbine to turn. The turbine blades are connected to a drive shaft which turns a generator and electricity is produced.

(Source: Dept. of Energy)

Types of Wind Turbines

Today's wind turbines fall into two main category based on the direction of the rotating shaft. The most common type of wind turbines used today are the horizontal-axis wind turbines. Horizontal-axis wind turbines have turbine blades that look like airplane propellers, while vertical–axis wind turbines have blades that go from top to bottom. Only a very small percentage of wind turbines used today are vertical-axis wind turbines.

(Source: Dept. of Energy)

Size of Wind Turbines

The size of wind turbine differs widely. Small turbines are used to provide power to a single home or business and the capacity of these small wind turbines are less than 100 kilowatts. Larger commercial sized wind turbines can have a capacity of 5 megawatts. These larger turbines are frequently grouped together into wind farms providing power to the electricity grid. Wind farm normally has dozens of wind turbines that are scattered over a large area.

(Source: Dept. of Energy)

Wind Energy and the Environment

Wind energy is a clean source of energy that can be produced domestically. Being fueled by the wind, wind energy does not pollute the air or produce any atmospheric emissions.

The main challenge facing wind energy is the intermittence of wind and the wind does not always blow when power is required. Wind energy must also compete on a cost basis with conventional generation sources such as fossil fuel.

Source: AZoCleantech
Last update 28th May 2008

Date Added: May 28, 2008
Tell Us What You Think

Do you have a review, update or anything you would like to add to this article?

Leave your feedback
Submit