Wind energy, also known as wind power, is a renewable, sustainable and naturally occurring source of energy that is used to generate electricity. In order to generate such electricity, wind turbines are utilized. Wind turbines rotate when exposed to the kinetic energy of wind, and they convert this kinetic energy into mechanical energy.
Wind energy is a source of energy that has been utilized for many centuries.
While a common misconception about wind energy is that it was not discovered until relatively recently when people began making use of it to generate renewable electricity, it has been used for many centuries. Sailors, fishers and other mariners have been using wind energy as a way to control the direction and speed of their boats during off coast journeys. Farmers have also made use of windmills for the production of grains and as a means for irrigation. Thus, wind energy is a source of energy that has been utilized for many centuries.
Wind energy originates from the sun. Since the sun unevenly heats the Earth, there is an uneven distribution of hot and cold air. Wind pressure is created when warm air rises, and cold air moves to take its place. Thus, wind energy is technically a form of solar energy.
Wind produces kinetic energy when it rotates wind turbines, and this kinetic energy is the driving force that is converted into mechanical energy, resulting in the generation of electricity.
Wind turbines can be as tall as 250 meters (tip height) and with a diameter of 180 meters, wind turbines are generally placed in groups in what is called a ‘wind farm’. The blades are linked to a shaft, and when the wind causes them to spin, the shaft turns. The shaft is connected to a generator, which generates electricity.
The three main factors
Three main factors impact the amount of energy produced by a wind turbine. These factors include air density, the wind’s speed and the area that has been swept. These three factors are taken into consideration when erecting a wind turbine in order to ensure maximum results from the placement of the turbine. Some places that are avoided when considering the installation of a wind turbine or wind farm include mountainous regions (where mountains can block breezes), urban areas and enclosed spaces.
The generation of wind energy does not cost anything once wind turbines have been erected. The best part is that wind energy is environmentally friendly, and this means that they do not cause any water or air pollution.
Since wind energy is both renewable and free of cost (once a wind turbine has been installed), countries across the globe have embraced wind energy as this environmentally friendly energy source in their battle against climate change. China has been the leading country in this effort to replace non-renewable sources of energy with renewable ones. The United States has been second, utilizing wind to create over 250 terawatt-hours per year. Thus, the global trend has been increasing, with majorly industrial and densely populated countries making the switch to such renewable energies as smoothly as possible.