Just like solar power, it’s good to know as much as possible about this future energy source. Here are some general facts about wind power:
As per report released by the Global Wind Energy Council on February 7; 2012, there was a 21% increase in global installed capacity of wind power in 2011. The global wind industry installed a total of more than 41,000 megawatts (MW) of wind power capacity. This brings the total installed capacity globally to more than 238,000 MW. As per this report, nearly 75 countries around the world have commercial wind power installations, 22 of them already passing the 1 gigawatt (GW) level.
Solar Energy is everything, and wind is an indirect form of it. Wind is caused by the differential heating of the earth by the sun, which causes global heat dissipation in the form of wind. This wind flow when “harvested” by wind turbines can be used to produce electricity. It’s a no-brainer, but it’s interesting to think about. For more see how does solar energy work?
Wind turbines have lesser environmental impacts than many other energy sources. Wind turbines do not release any harmful gases, do not pollute the air or water, and they do not require water for cooling. As global wind energy capacity increases the world uses less fossil fuels and consequently reduces greenhouse-gas emission and other forms of pollution.
Humans have been harnessing the wind energy from ancient times. As per U.S. Department of Energy records, wind power dates back to at least 5000 B.C. Wind energy has been used for thousands of years for propelling sailing ships, pumping water, and grinding grain.
The windiest country in Europe is the United Kingdom; the country could supply enough energy through wind to power their entire country several times. The windiest place in the US is generally considered to be Chicago (the Windy City), while the windiest places on earth have been recorded with wind speeds over 200 mph – both Mt. Washington, New Hampshire and CommonWealth Bay, Antartica are given this dubious honor!