Wind Energy

Like many of the water energies, wind energy is also formed indirectly from solar energy. Solar radiation causes differential heating and pressure effects to occur in the atmosphere, forming wind currents and weather patterns. The differential heating of landscapes and oceans allows for certain areas in the world to be consistently windy. The kinetic energy of wind can be converted into mechanical power with wind turbines and used to generate electricity. The concept of a wind turbine is the same as that for water or gas turbines, but the design is different in order to exploit the aerodynamic properties of wind. Although there are many different wind turbine designs, two main types are made commercially: horizontal and vertical (whose axis of rotation is vertical).

Significant wind power industries are found in California, Denmark, and the United Kingdom. In California, there are over 15,500 operational wind turbines in the state, with a generating capacity of 16,200 MW. In Denmark, there are over 2,800 operational wind turbines, with a generating capacity of 343 MW. The United Kingdom has been the most recent site for commercial wind energy developments, with over 170 MW of installed wind capacity (Taylor 1996, 304). In addition to large commercial-scale projects, wind power is significantly used in local communities and for small-scale applications.

Renewable Energy 101

Renewable Energy 101

Renewable energy is energy that is generated from sunlight, rain, tides, geothermal heat and wind. These sources are naturally and constantly replenished, which is why they are deemed as renewable. The usage of renewable energy sources is very important when considering the sustainability of the existing energy usage of the world. While there is currently an abundance of non-renewable energy sources, such as nuclear fuels, these energy sources are depleting. In addition to being a non-renewable supply, the non-renewable energy sources release emissions into the air, which has an adverse effect on the environment.

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