WhyGreen Renewable101 wind banner Wind Energy 101

About Wind Energy

Wind energy is the second-most common form of renewable energy used to make electricity in the U.S. It has grown at a rapid rate in recent years, and the U.S. Department of Energy has announced a goal of obtaining 6% of U.S. electricity from wind by 2020 (up from about 3% in 2012). As public demand for clean energy grows and as the cost of producing energy from the wind continues to decline, wind energy will likely provide a growing portion of the nation’s energy supply.

How It Works

Wind can be caught using large wind mills (called turbines) that spin to generate electricity.

  1. Computer systems control the direction of turbine blades to match the direction of the wind
  2. Wind pushes the turbine blades into rotation
  3. Blades turn a generator to convert mechanical energy into electricity
  4. The generator sends electricity through transmission lines to the power grid, bringing electricity to homes and businesses

WhyGreen Renewable101 wind2 Wind Energy 101WhyGreen Renewable101 wind3 Wind Energy 101

Fun Facts

  • Wind has been used since the earliest civilizations to grind grain, pump water and power sailboats
  • Wind turbines can be as tall as a 20-story building, with blades as long as a football field
  • The top 5 wind power producing states, in order, are Texas, Iowa, California, Minnesota and Washington
  • Wind energy companies sometimes hire rock climbers to do repairs on their turbines since they’re experts in using ropes to scale great heights
  • Wind is created by the heating and cooling patterns of the Earth’s surface based on the position of the sun
  • Before the U.S. installed an infrastructure of electricity wires, both water-pumping windmills and small wind electric turbines (“wind chargers”) were vital to farming and developing the American Great Plains and west
  • Wind produces about 4.1% of the energy used in the United States