The Pros And Cons Of Wind Energy

1646 words - 7 pages

Wind power is a form of solar energy. Wind is created by unequal heating and cooling of the earth from the solar energy. The energy from the sun heats up the earth causing warmer air to rise. As this occurs, cooler air rushes in to replace the warmer air creating wind. Wind energy can be generated into electricity producing natural power using wind turbines. Wind turbines convert the kinetic energy in the wind into mechanical power which can be converted by a generator into electricity. This energy generated by the wind is considered renewable energy. This means that the source of power is naturally replenished. The renewable energy is natural and continuous in the environment.
Wind has been used for energy for thousands of years. Throughout time many historical applications have used the wind to generate a specific task. For example, sails of a ship use the wind to propel themselves across the ocean. Another example is windmills which have been used for grinding grain and pumping water. The earliest known applications of wind used as an energy source came from Persia around 900AD. There, the wind was used to drive early windmills. Prior to the Industrial Revolution, wind power was used by the Europeans as a significant source of energy for. As time passed, use of wind as energy lost favor because it was not always available when it was needed, and it was difficult to distribute. “The first wind turbines for electricity generation appeared in the late nineteenth century in the United States.” “Modern wind turbines are several hundred feet tall.” For example, “a wind turbine that generates 1.6 mega-walls of electrical power is approximately 113 meters tall from its base to the tip of the rotor blade.” Wind turbines must be placed high above the ground because the wind speeds are usually faster and less variable higher in the atmosphere. Therefore the wind turbines can take advantage of better wind conditions.
So how does a wind turbine work? As the wind blows, the blades of a wind turbine begin to rotate. The blades act very similar to an airplane wing. Blowing air passes around both sides of the blade. The shape of the blade causes the air pressure to be uneven. The pressure is higher on one side of the blade and lower on the other which causes the blades to spin. The uneven pressure causes the blade to spin around the center of the turbine. On the top of the turbine, is a weather vane that is connected to a computer to keep the turbine turned into the wind so it captures the most energy. The blades are attached to a shaft which only turns about 18 revolutions per minute and that’s not nearly fast enough to generate electricity by itself. So the rotary shaft spins a series of gears that increase the rotation up to 1800 revolutions per minute. At that speed, a generator can produce a lot of electricity.
There are two main types of wind turbines: the horizontal axis turbine and the vertical axis turbine. The horizontal axis wind turbine...

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