This article talks about wind and wind energy facts for kids. Read on to find out more about wind power, its history, uses, and various other fun facts about this renewable and green form of energy.
What is Wind Energy?
Did you know that wind is simply moving air? Using wind turbines, wind mills, wind pumps or even just sails, moving air can be transformed into other forms of energy to use for electricity, mechanical power, to pump water or move ships. This energy that comes from moving air is known as wind energy.
Wind energy is renewable and clean
Wind energy is important because it is a renewable and abundant source of energy. This means that it can be used over and over again and will never run out. This is unlike fossil fuels such as coal and natural gas which come in limited amounts. With the Earth’s dwindling stores of fossil fuels, harnessing this renewable source of energy from moving air is likely to play an important role in our future.
Wind is also one of the cleanest sources of energy. If you have seen photos of videos or power plants, you will notice that they tend to come with thick smoke. Wind power, on the other hand, does not create air pollution or produce greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide.
Unlike wind power, energy from fossil fuels produce large amounts of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide. The photo above shows the Schwarze Pumpe power station in Germany which uses mainly coal as fuel. It emits high levels of carbon dioxide.
A hands-on approach for learning about green energy
Amazon Price: $72.95 Buy Now
(price as of Jun 18, 2016)
How do we get wind energy?
Perhaps one of the most important wind energy facts for kids is understanding how we get wind power. In order to this, we need to build something known as a 'wind farm' which is basically an area full of 'wind turbines'. These turbines are what generate power from the moving air. These turbines can stand up to four hundred feet tall, which means that wind farms can be seen for miles around!
The best places to build such farms are out in the ocean or in very high places as there seems to be an almost continuous source of wind. After all, if no wind is blowing, the turbines would not be able to generate any power. Besides out in the ocean, these farms may also be found on the top of rather large hills.
These turbines were built on a hill in Austria. It may not look like much, but these turbines generate enough electricity to power hundreds of homes.
How do these turbines work?
The exact details of how the turbines works may be out of the realms of easy to understand wind power facts for kids, but hopefully this should give you a better idea: At the top of every turbine is a set of blades. When the air blows around the turbines, these blades are moved. The blades drive a shaft which in turn spins gears that rotate very quickly and through a long and complicated process makes an electrical generator work to produce large amounts of electricity.
The following video may help you visualize better how these turbines work
Assemble wind turbines and more
Amazon Price: $49.95 Too low to display Buy Now
(price as of Jun 18, 2016)
Other wind energy facts for kids
Now for some really cool and fun facts about this renewable source of energy:
- Around 3% of the electricity in the United States actually comes from wind power, which is a huge amount considering the fact it is fairly recent technology. This is enough to power around 3 million homes. The use of this renewable energy source has grown substantially over the past ten years due to government initiatives.
- The windspeed needs to blow an average of 15 miles an hour throughout the year in order to make turbines a viable option. Otherwise, it would not be cost-efficient to build them.
- Besides large turbines in the farms, there are also much smaller ones for individual use at home. People have also been able to build their own turbines from do-it-yourself kits or even from scratch to power parts of their homes.
- The Alta Wind Energy Center in California is the largest wind farm in the United States and in the world as of 2013. It has a total of 490 turbines and a maximum capacity of 3000 Megawatts (MW) of electricity.
- If you live in Texas, you may be interested to know that there is more wind power capacity here than in any other state at 12,212 MW. California comes in second at less than half of that amount.
- The top ten countries that use this renewable form of energy are China, United States, Germany, Spain, India, United Kingdom, Italy, France, Canada, and Portugal.