Due to change in environmental conditions, depletion of natural resources like coal, petroleum, natural gas, etc., and high energy costs, people are turning towards renewable sources of energy like solar energy, water energy and wind energy. These three energy sources are found in abundance in nature and can also be replenished.
However, out of the three, wind is quite a popular and dependable source of energy that is used to generate electricity. It is also the cleanest sources of renewable energy on the earth.
Generation of Wind Energy
The sun is the main source of wind energy. When the sun heats up the surface of the Earth, the air becomes warm and moves up towards the atmosphere. In some places, where the heat does not reach the surface, air remains cold and is present near the surface.
When the warm air rises up it creates a void where the cold air flows in to fill the vacuum. This movement of cold air in the gaps is what is known as wind. This wind is employed with the help of wind turbines to create energy. Wind power has been used since the time man learned to sail. Windmills convert the kinetic energy of wind into electrical energy.
Interesting Facts about Wind Power
The effort taken by man to convert wind into electrical energy is quite laudable. Owing to the continuous efforts, wind energy has turned out to be the world's fastest growing and reliable source of energy. There are many interesting facts dating centuries back such as the use of wind power in ancient Egypt during the rule of the Pharaohs.
- The first recorded use of wind as an energy source can be dated back to 5000 BC, when sail boats were propelled across the river Nile. In 200 BC, the Chinese and Middle Eastern people implemented wind energy to grind grain and pump water from the well.
- The first wind turbine was constructed during the late 1800s in Ohio, United States. This windmill has approximately one hundred and forty five blades and the energy generated by this device was used to charge batteries.
- In ancient Persia (now known as Iran), windmills were used to grind grains.
- American colonists used windmills to grind grains, cut wood and pump water.
- From the 1920s, windmills have been a significant source of power in rural America.
- There are two types of windmills - horizontal windmills and vertical windmills. Horizontal windmills consist of a traditional structure with three or four blades and stand perpendicular to the ground. Vertical windmills resemble eggbeaters that are kept upside down.
- Germany, that has a huge number of windmills, is the leading producer of wind energy in the world, with Spain being second in line.
- In the United States, California is the largest producer of wind power.
- When it comes to the usage of windmill technology, Holland is considered the leader.
- There are approximately 50,000 wind turbines across the globe that produce more than 50 billion kilowatt of energy around the year.
- One fascinating fact about wind energy source is that the wind farm which is as large as one tenth of the area in the state of Nevada can supply the United States with so much energy that it can replace the sources of fossil fuel completely.
- A company in Canada has invented a street light that is powered by wind energy, which runs a small turbine, fixed next to the solar panel on the light.
- In the United States, approximately 17 billion kilowatts of wind energy is generated annually.
- Among all the countries in the continent of Europe, United Kingdom (or UK) is the windiest. Owing to this fact there are a number of wind turbines, which produce energy enough to supply power to the entire country.
Though there are many pros and cons of wind power, wind is still preferred as a source of energy, since it is freely available in nature and is also cost-effective.