is a form of solar energy. Winds are caused by the uneven heating of
the atmosphere by the sun, the irregularities of the earth's surface,
and rotation of the earth. Wind flow patterns are modified by the
earth's terrain, bodies of water, and vegetation. Humans use this wind
flow, or motion energy, for many purposes: sailing, flying a kite, and
even generating electricity.
The terms wind energy or wind
power describe the process by which the wind is used to generate
mechanical power or electricity. Wind turbines convert the kinetic
energy in the wind into mechanical power. This mechanical power can be
used for specific tasks (such as grinding grain or pumping water) or a
generator can convert this mechanical power into electricity.
So how do wind turbines make
electricity? Simply stated, a wind turbine works the opposite of a fan.
Instead of using electricity to make wind, like a fan, wind turbines
use wind to make electricity. The wind turns the blades, which spin a
shaft, which connects to a generator and makes electricity.
Take a look inside
a wind turbine to see the various parts.
This aerial view of a wind power plant
shows how a group of wind turbines can make electricity for the utility
grid. The electricity is sent through transmission and distribution
lines to homes, businesses, schools, and so on.
View the wind
turbine animation to see how a wind turbine works.
READ RELATED ARTICLES:
From U.S. Department of Energy - Energy Efficiency and
Renewable Energy Wind and Hydropower Technologies Program