By: Duncan Baldwin and Lindsay Zhou
Wind, caused by uneven heating of the air above land and sea, is a renewable resource. People are now able to harness the power of the wind to generate electricity in an environmentally friendly, affordable way (Energy Information Administration).
Wind was used as early as 5000 BC to propel boats. Later, it was used to grind wheat, pump water, and perform other tasks. Windmills were also put to use, but the modern wind turbine is much more evolved.
Wind can be found almost anywhere, but wind farms can only be put in certain places. This includes open plains, open shorelines, rounded hills, and certain mountain gaps.
Wind speeds should be at least 12-14 mph. These winds move the blades of a turbine, which turn gears that drive a generator.
The wind's kinetic energy turns into mechanical energy when it moves the blades of the turbine. This mechanical energy becomes electricity (American Wind Energy Administration).
Today, wind energy is used around the world to power homes, farms, businesses, and other facilities. The U.S. now produces about 282,000 megawatts using wind. As a country, we get about 3.5% of our energy from wind. However, the potential for wind energy is 10x the U.S. consumption.
Wind energy definitely has its advantages. It's an affordable, renewable source with a low environmental impact. Wind energy is a great way to stay green because it emits no greenhouse gases or other pollutants. Harnessing the power of the wind for energy also uses virtually no water!
Of course, nothing is perfect. While wind energy is a clean resource, it does have its downsides. Putting up wind farms takes a lot of space and it's very noisy. Also, not everywhere is suitable for these farms (Science: Grade 8).
A turbine with one megawatt of capacity costs, on average, $1.3 million to $2.2 million (Windustry). In 2012, $25 billion was invested in wind energy. The wind industry employs about 80,000 people in the US (American Wind Energy Administration).
Fossil fuels and other nonrenewable resources will eventually run out. When that happens, something must take their place. Naturally, the new resources would be renewable. In the future, we can continue to use wind as a source of energy because of its inexpensiveness and potential as a resource.
In order to continue using wind as a resource, we must maintain the turbines. We can do this by continuing the development of these generators to be stronger and more efficient (Windustry).
There are over 900 utility-scale wind projects across the US.
North Carolina has 25 wind-related manufacturing facilities.
One wind turbine lasts for about 20-30 years.
From 2000 to 2012, the amount of wind energy has increased 16+ times (American Wind Energy Association).
The top countries in producing wind energy are the US, China, Germany, Spain, and India.
Denmark is ranked 9th in the world, but they get 19% of their energy from the world, making them number one proportional to the amount of total energy.
The top five states in producing wind energy are Texas, Iowa, California, Minnesota, and Illinois (Energy Information Administration).
"AWEA - American Wind Energy Association." AWEA - American Wind Energy Association. 2013. Web. 14 May 2014. <http://www.awea.org/>.
"Energy Kids: Energy Information Administration." EIA Energy Kids -. Web. 14 May 2014. <http://www.eia.gov/kids/energy.cfm?page=wind_home_basics-k.cfm>.
"How Much Do Wind Turbines Cost." Windustry. Web. 15 May 2014. <www.windustry.org/resources/how-much-do-wind-turbines-cost>.
Science: Grade 8. Evanston: Houghton Mifflin, 2005. Print.