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Wind Energy

Wind turbinesThe wind can blow your hat off, rustle the trees, and even power your television. For thousands of years, people have used windmills to grind grain and pump water. Today, modern machines called wind turbines are used to make electricity. To produce a lot of electricity, many wind turbines can be placed together on wind farms. Good sites for wind farms are often found on windy hilltops, open plains, and shorelines.

How It Works

This diagram shows the major parts of a wind turbine. Numbers on the diagram correspond with the steps listed on the page.
  1. As the wind blows over the blades of a wind turbine, it causes the blades to lift and rotate.
  2. The rotating blades turn a shaft that is connected to a generator.
  3. The generator creates electricity as it turns.

Cool Facts

  • Fast as the wind. Wind power has been the fastest-growing energy source in the world since 1990.
  • The world leader. Denmark gets one–fifth of its energy from wind power, the highest percentage of any country in the world.
  • Winds of change. The United States and China are the largest producers of wind power in the world.
  • Power to the people. In the United States, wind energy now produces enough electricity to power more than 9 million homes.

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