Solar4Scholars: Wind Energy
Wind is air in motion, produced by uneven heating all over the earth's surface. Wind is most often produced near water. The temperature near water is moderated by the water, and when the temperature on land rises or falls (especially after dusk and dawn), this can produce windy conditions. On a larger scale, earth's major wind currents are created by the difference between temperatures at the equator and the poles.
How is wind renewable?
Wind is called a renewable energy source because there will always be wind, as long as there is sunlight. In the past, wind has been used mainly to power mills and pump water. Today, wind energy is often used to generate electricity in small wind systems and on wind farms where it can produce electricity at very large rates.
How does a turbine work?
Wind energy is collected by wind turbines. These are made up of three basic parts:
- an airfoil turned by the wind
- a generator that is turned by the action of the turbine
- wires that carry the electricity
Small wind energy systems for homes may also have batteries and other parts that make up the balance of system. They may even have a separate backup generator, for times when the wind is not blowing.