Wind Power

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Wind Power

Energy production causes more pollution than any other industry in the country. Currently, nearly all of the electricity produced in the United States is generated by fossil fuel plants, nuclear plants, and hydroelectric plants. The build-up in the atmosphere of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases produced by the burning of fossil fuels now threatens far-reaching climate change. In addition to global warming, conventional methods of electricity generation release the gases responsible for acid rain, sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide. In order to prevent further degradation of our environment and successfully transition to a sustainable society, we must change our current patterns of production and consumption. Conservation and switching to renewable sources of energy, such as wind power, are crucial steps to achieving this goal of sustainability. Wind power alone has the potential to meet 20 percent or more of the world's electricity needs within the next four to five years, (Johansson, 157). Wind power, however, is still a developing technology, and is therefore far from reaching its full potential.

How Wind Machines Work:

Wind is the product of sunlight heating the surface of the Earth unevenly. Warmer air rises and cooler air tumbles in to replace it, causing everything from gentle breezes to raging tornadoes. Whatever the amount of power in the wind, it can be harnessed by a machine called a wind turbine. The most common type of wind turbine has a horizontal axis, with two or more aerodynamic blades mounted on the horizontal shaft, (AccessScience, "Types of Wind Machines"). As the wind passes over a turbine's blade, pressure forms on the downwind side, thrusting it upward like a propeller. In these...

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... state's consumers the choice of who supplies their electric power and how that power is produced. With the implementation of at least some of these changes, wind power will eventually become a clean source of energy that all people can afford to rely on.

Sources: keyword: "Wind Power."

Carley, Sanya, Sierra Curtis-McLane, and Galen O'Toole. "Renewable Energy at Swarthmore." April 15, 2001.

Jacobson, Mark Z. and Gilbert M. Masters. "Exploiting Wind Versus Coal." August 24, 2001

Johansson, Thomas B. Renewable Energy: Sources for Fuels and Electricity. Island Press, Washington D.C., 1993.

Raabe, Steve and Joey Bunch. "Advocates Say Wind Power Progressing from Novelty to Mainstream Practicality." The Denver Post Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News. April 20, 2003.

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