Environmental Integrity

Wind Energy

The Basics

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TITLE: Wind Energy – The Basics

AUTHOR: Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy

SOURCE: Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, U.S. Department of Energy

COPYRIGHT: No protection is claimed in original U.S. Government works.

Once called windmills,the technology used to harness the power of wind has advanced significantly over the past ten years, with the United States increasing its wind power capacity 30% year over year. Wind turbines, as they are now called, collect and convert the kinetic energy that wind produces into electricity to help power the grid.

Wind energy is actually a byproduct of the sun. The sun’s uneven heating of the atmosphere, the earth’s irregular surfaces (mountains and valleys), and the planet's revolution around the sun all combine to create wind. Since wind is in plentiful supply, it’s a sustainable resource for as long as the sun’s rays heat the planet.

In addition, because wind power is a growing industry, it’s adding jobs to communities around the country. Currently, there are utility-scale wind plants in 41 states that have created more than 100,000 jobs for Americans.