Wind power harnesses the movement of the wind to turn electrical turbines, generating power. Large windmill-like turbines with canted blades catch the wind, rotating around a central axle. This axle connects to the central rotor of an electric turbine. As the turbine spins, the interaction of copper wires and magnets creates an electrical current.Continue Reading
Wind turbines come in two styles, horizontal and vertical. Vertical turbines look like windmills, with a horizontal axle connected to large propeller blades. These turbines must face the wind for maximum efficiency, so the head of the turbine may pivot to allow the structure to cope with unsteady wind conditions. Vertical turbines resemble eggbeater blades, with a vertical axle surrounded by two or more sail-like blades connected at the top and bottom. This design has the advantage of being omnidirectional since winds from any direction may cause the blades to move and spin the axle.
Wind power is most effective in regions that experience sustained winds for long periods, such as the Great Plains. Wind is also often coupled with solar or hydroelectric energy since calm conditions can drastically reduce the amount of electricity generated. As of 2014, some countries have begun placing wind farms on or just off their coasts, taking advantage of the nearly constant winds that blow in from ocean currents.Learn more about Electricity
Hydroelectric generators harness the power of water being forced through a dam to turn the blades of turbines, generating electricity. These plants work with gravity instead of steam as is the case with coal-fired power plants.Full Answer >
Power plants use electric turbines to generate power. When a turbine spins, it induces a moving magnetic field in and around copper wires, which makes electrons move, creating an electric current. The power to turn a turbine usually comes from steam, but wind or water can also be used.Full Answer >
Wind energy is a form of renewable energy produced through machines that use wind as their power source. Wind energy is only possible because of the sun.Full Answer >
A typical wind power generator produces approximately 30 percent of the theoretical maximum power it could produce on average, as reported by the European Wind Power Administration and Global Wind Energy Council. Losses of efficiency due to the mechanical action of the generator are already included in the theoretical maximum.Full Answer >