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What is Wind Energy?

Wind energy is another renewable source of energy. How can we harness it?
© Adam Smith Centre

Wind power describes the process by which the wind is used to generate mechanical power or electricity. Wind power is becoming increasingly popular around the world. Between 1997 and 2018, the world increased its wind generation capacity by a factor of 75. The race to build bigger, better wind turbines is reflective of global efforts to switch to renewable power generation.

Below is a graph from the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), depicting the world’s growing wind energy capacity.

How is Wind Energy Harnessed?

Wind turbines convert the kinetic energy from the wind into mechanical power. A wind turbine blade works like an aeroplane wing. The wind passes through both sides of the blade. The shape of the blade causes the air pressure to be uneven. This uneven pressure causes the blades to spin around the centre of a turbine. On the top of the turbine, there is a weather vane which is connected to a computer to keep the turbine turned to the wind so it captures the most energy. The blades are attached to a shaft which, in turn, spins a series of gears which generate electricity.

© Adam Smith Centre
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Climate Change and Public Policy

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