Wind Turbines

Instead of consuming electricity to create wind (like a fan), wind turbines use wind to produce electricity. This form of sustainable energy is less versatile than solar energy and sometimes very challenging because of the wind flow patterns and variations.

Greenpeace Windmills

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How do wind turbines make electricity?

Wind turbines convert the kinetic energy from the wind into mechanical power. A generator can convert mechanical power into electricity, using the aerodynamic force created by the rotor blades. When the wind flows across the blade, the air pressure on one side of the blade decreases. The difference in air pressure across the two sides of the blade causes the rotor to spin.

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wind tURBINE types

Horizontal-axis turbines: Horizontal-axis wind turbines (pictured right) are what many people picture when you think of wind turbines. They most commonly have three blades and are operated “upwind,” with the turbine pivoting at the top of the tower so the blades face into the wind.

Horizontal-axis turbine

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Vertical-Axis Turbines: Vertical-axis wind turbines (pictured left) come in several varieties, including the eggbeater-style Darrieus model, named after its French inventor. These turbines are omnidirectional, meaning they don’t need to be adjusted to point into the wind to operate.

Vertical-axis turbine

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The smallest turbines are used for applications such as battery charging for auxiliary power for boats or caravans or to power traffic warning signs. Larger turbines can be used for making contributions to a domestic power supply while selling unused power back to the utility supplier via the electrical grid. Both types can be built on land or offshore in large bodies of water like oceans and lakes.

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