Wind energy is made from air that is moving. Wind is formed when the sun heats one part of the Earth, but not another. The hot air rises, and the cooler air takes its place. Humans have put up many wind turbines across the globe, to make wind energy into electricity. The electricity can be used to power homes, but when the wind stops, they have to use coal.
How a wind turbine works[edit | edit source]
Onshore[edit | edit source]
The blades of the turbine catch the wind which turns the shaft. The shaft is connected to a generator, normally via a gearbox, which produces electricity. The rotor blades and shaft are connected to the nacelle, which contains the gearbox and other power/mechanical components and sits at the top of the wind turbine tower. The nacelle can rotate freely, allowing the wind turbine blades to align with the direction of the wind and helping them to extract as much energy as possible.
Offshore[edit | edit source]
Offshore turbines operate in much the same way as onshore turbines, although in general they are larger and more powerful.
Advantages[edit | edit source]
- Wind energy is free, renewable and doesn't cause pollution
- Underneath the wind farms is land which can be used for farming
- Can be useful for supplying remote areas
- Can be a good tourist attraction
Disadvantages[edit | edit source]
- Wind farms are often noisy and some people dislike their impact on the landscape
- Wind turbines can harm migrating birds
- Electricity can't be generated by wind farms if the wind speed is too low, and extra electricity can't be generated to respond to increased demand
- It is very expensive to build wind farms in ideal locations, such as offshore and on land near the coast