The wind blows everywhere at least some of the time. In some places it blows nearly all the time. Whenever the wind blows, we can capture its motion (or kinetic energy) to do work. With a sailboat, you use the wind to move from one place to another. With a windmill, we can use the wind to grind grain—like the Chinese and Egyptians did thousands of years ago—or we can use a wind turbine to turn the wind into electricity.
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Today, more and more modern wind turbines are being built to catch the wind and turn it into electricity. Turbines look like very tall pinwheels—100 feet tall or more. The wind blows the pinwheel around, turning the shaft and changing the wind into mechanical energy. The generator attached to the turbine turns the mechanical energy into electricity.
Wind turbines today work much better than the windmills of long ago. Just one turbine can make 3 megawatts of electricity. That’s enough electricity to power 30,000 100-watt light bulbs, like those you probably use in your lamps at home.
Today, hundreds of wind turbines are often built close together—called a wind park—to generate power for thousands of homes and businesses. Teaching Kids :: About Wind Energy