Wind energy is mainly used to generate electricity. The main instrument used to capture this energy is the wind turbine, which is comprised of three or four rotating blades connected to a drive shaft. Wind flows over the blades of the wind turbine, causing them to turn. This kinetic energy from turning is converted to electrical energy for transmission to homes and businesses.
The amount of electricity generated from wind energy in the United States has increased dramatically. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, wind turbines generated 3 percent of the total electricity in the nation in 2012. This is equivalent to the amount of energy needed to power approximately 12 million homes in the United States. In 2000, approximately 6 kilowatt-hours of electricity were generated from wind power, and in 2012, over 140 billion kilowatt-hours were generated from wind energy.
Harnessing electricity from wind power has several advantages. It is a renewable energy source, since the availability of wind is virtually unlimited, and tax breaks for the use of renewable energy in the United States are encouraging the increased use of wind turbines. According to Renewable Energy World, home owners and farmers in windy areas sometimes install their own wind turbines to reduce their electricity bills.