Wind Energy – An Ancient Resource

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3500 year old Egyptian ship

Wind is simply the movement of air. Think of wind as an ocean of air moving around the Earth in the same way that water does - except that it is invisible. Wind is formed by the uneven heating of the earth's surface by the sun i.e. less at the poles and more at the equator. This heating is more rapid on land than on the sea. Air expands and reaches high altitudes while the cool air comes down which blows as wind.

Wind energy converts kinetic energy by friction into more useful forms like mechanical energy and also electricity. People use both these sources of energy for many purposes.
Wind Energy during Ancient Times

Since ancient times, wind mills have been constructed to produce wind energy for the purpose of grinding grains. Wind pumps were also constructed to pump water to the fields. Egyptians, Phoenicians and other cultures used wind energy to propel their ships.

Without wing power, ships would not have been able to explore faraway places. Later wind mills were constructed with three propeller blades to generate electricity. This type of electricity was used in rural areas. Due to the high shortage of oil nowadays, wind electricity is highly preferred in many countries.

Producing Wind Energy

Wind energy is used by wind turbines to generate electricity. A machine with a rotor and usually three propeller blades is called a wind turbine. The propeller blades are usually horizontal but may also be vertical when conserving space is an issue.

A group of wind turbines can form a wind farm or wind power plant where there is a strong flow of wind. As the wind spins the propeller blades, the rotor turns and creates electricity and so supplies power to the generator i.e. the mechanical energy of the rotor is converted into electricity. Electricity produced by the turbines is supplied through a grid to various stations. The electricity produced by a single turbine is abundant enough for a single house.

Wind energy systems are used in wind power plants and transfer the electricity produced by the wind to the stations. The wind power plant consists of large number of wind turbines, each 30 to 40 m long. Generally, as the height increases, circulation of air also increases. To take advantage of this known fact, turbines are built very high. Germany and Spain are the leading countries in wind power systems.

Horizon Wind Energy

Horizon wind energy is one of the wind energy systems which has been established in many parts of the United States from New York to California. It is one of the largest independent power producers which generate an over all of 15,000 MW per year and the amount is increasing every year.

The Maple Ridge wind farm, a project of 321 MW is one of the constructions of Horizon wind energy. Other wind energy stations are Blue canyon wind farm and Wild Horse wind farm. This wind energy developer has a lot of projects to be established throughout United States.

Environmental Impact

Scientists tell us that changes in the global climate are due to the overabundant usage of fossil fuels. Combustion of fossil fuels causes large amount of green house gases to be emitted. In turn, this pollutes the atmosphere and also causes global warming. Replacing fossil fuels with wind electricity would be a major factor in preventing environmental pollution.

Wind energy never gets depleted. As a result, wind electricity is very cheap and does not emit green house gases. It is entirely pollution free. The mega watts of electricity produced by the wind turbines are used to reduce 0.8 to 0.9 tons of green house gas emissions when compared to coal and oil.

Wind energy is one major source of green power and a sustainable form of energy that can be relied upon by future generations without worry about causing damage to our fragile planet or running out of this incredible resource.

Robert Taylor

Robert Taylor is an educator, environmentalist and writer. He publishes a twice-weekly newsletter about improving your home environment including information about solar power, wind power, and many d-i-y projects. New subscribers receive an amazing e-book "Renewable Energy and Other Money Saving Secrets for your Home". Go here to subscribe: Green Energy News

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