Wind energy or wind power is the extraction of kinetic energy from wind and the conversion of it into mechanical energy. Man has harnessed the power of the wind for many centuries. Wind is a type of solar energy. The sun heats the earth’s surface and the warmer air begins to rise. Cooler air flows into the area below the rising air causing wind. The Egyptians utilized the wind as early as 5000 B.C. by attaching sails to propel boats across the Nile River. For many years sailing ships on the open seas were powered by capturing the wind with sails. The Dutch adapted the windmill and used it to drain the lakes and the marshes of the Rhine River. Windmills are used in food production such as grinding grain. Since the early 1800s, windmills in the United States have been pumping water from the ground. The windmill was instrumental in the development of dry land farming in the Midwest after the Civil War. Hundreds of windmills are still pumping today to provide water for grazing cattle.
Today huge modern wind turbines are used all over the world to generate electricity. The process of generating electricity from a wind turbine consists of the turbine blades capturing the wind and rotating a shaft inside a generator which produces electricity. Many of these wind turbines are grouped together to form a wind farm which can generate large amounts of electricity that can be added to the power grid. Since the Industrial Revolution the majority of electricity generating plants are powered by non-renewable fossil fuels such as coal and more recently natural gas. Fossil fuel plants release greenhouse gases into the atmosphere causing global warming. With the threat of global warming being very real, many nations are turning to a...
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