Want to stay on top of all the space news? Follow @universetoday on TwitterGlobal warming or not, it would be better for us humans to start harnessing energy from different sources. That way, we are not totally dependent on those that may eventually run out in the future. One promising source is wind power. So what is wind power?
Wind power is basically energy harnessed from the wind.
One main advantage of wind energy is that it is renewable. That means, we won’t run out of it. Perhaps it would help if we first talked about where wind energy comes from and understand why it would never run out.
You see, the temperatures in different parts of planet Earth vary. Some places are cold, while some places are hot. One reason is because the Earth is tilted. Because of this, there are times when the polar regions get very minimal heat. By contrast, those at the equator get lots of heat most of the time. This results in a temperature difference between the two regions.
Temperature differences can also occur locally. Land always heats up and cools down faster than a body of water adjacent to it. Thus, even if the two places get the same amount of heat, there will always be a temperature difference between the two.
These temperature differences lead to expansions and contractions of bodies of air, which eventually lead to convection – and subsequently, wind. Since these temperature differences will never cease, the wind will continue to blow. Researches have been made and it was found out that the Earth has about 72 terawatts of commercially viable wind power. The global demand is only about a quarter of that.
To make use of wind power, turbines can be constructed in places where winds blow hard all the time. Wind turbines convert wind energy to electrical energy. Arrays of turbines, known as wind farms, can then be connected to an electric power distribution network. This network will then transmit the electrical energy to substations near densely populated areas.
Although the cost per unit of energy produced is slightly higher than coal, wind power is steadily gaining popularity mainly because of global warming awareness. The good news is that, if governments continue to invest in wind power, and as the demand for it goes higher, the costs will eventually go down. In fact, the cost of wind energy is now only a fifth of what it was back in the 80′s.
Want to read more articles that will help you answer the question, “What is wind power?”?
You can read more about how wind power works here in Universe Today. Here are the links:
There’s more about it from USGS:
Here are two episodes at Astronomy Cast that you might want to check out as well:
Galileoscope, Black Hole Time, and What Exactly is Energy?
A Universe of Dark Energy