Wind energy is a free and limitless power source. No matter where you go, there will always be wind. In the past, wind was captured and controlled through the use of sails for the powering of ships. Now that larger amounts of energy have been found, through the burning of fossil fuels, the art of sailing has faded to a recreational sport. Wind has also been used in the past to power mills, which have been used to pump water and grind grains. Though now these techniques of harnessing wind’s power are now not widely used, even though it is an effective power source. Wind is created by the uneven heating of the earth’s surface, and; therefore, is an unlimited source. The problem with fossil fuels is that they are pollutant and will eventually run out, whereas wind is clean and abundant. The technology and efficiency of windmills has improved significantly over the numerous years that they have been around.
Figure 1: Windmills of the Past, Figure 2: and Present
(University at Buffalo)
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Figure 3: Mills and the Power Generated
(University at Buffalo)
The windmill is a large vertical structure that can stand up to 500’ tall with blades as large as 250’. As the wind passes the rotor blades, the blades are forced to spin, therefore rotating the main shaft. Now, do to modern computers, windmills have been able to utilize a gearbox, improving the effectiveness of wind energy. These gears will control how fast the high-speed shaft will spin, the faster it spins in the generator, the more power that is produced. Then, the power is transported down the tower and directly into the city grid system.
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Figure 4: Structure of a Wind Turbine (University at Buffalo)
Advantages and Dis...
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... (The Economist, July 26, 2007)
Wind in the Future
Wind energy is definitely going to be a valuable resource in the future. The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority has a Renewal Portfolio Standard which requires that 25% of our electricity be produced from renewable sources by 2013. This shows that the US is already converting to renewable resources such as wind and solar.
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University at Buffalo, UB Green: Wind Energy. (2007, July) http://wings.buffalo.edu/ubgreen/energyforthefuture/technologies/wind.htm
July 26, 2007. Where the Wind Blows, The Economist. Retrieved July 30, 2007, http://www.economist.com/science/displaystory.cfm?story_id=9539765
July 26, 2007. Trapped Wind, The Economist. Retrieved July 30,2007,
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