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Wind Power

Tornados and hurricanes show us how destructive wind is, but wind is also productive. People long ago knew the benefits of wind. They used it to move their sailboats and to spin their windmills. Windmills are machines that do mechanical work for us; everything from crushing grain, to pumping water, to milling wood. No electricity is required, only the power of the wind!

Windmills still operate in many parts of the world. In Australia and Africa, for instance, pump mills are necessary to draw water for humans and livestock. In the Netherlands, pump mills are essential because most of the country lies below sea level. The pump mills stand along polders, which are low-lying sections of land surrounded by dikes. Pump mills drain the polders when they fill with water from rainfall, or from nearby rivers and canals.

Going Green

Today, wind power is a growing industry. Many places around the world use modern wind machines to generate electricity.

Wind farms are electric power plants. They convert clean wind energy to electricity with machines called wind turbines. Wind spins the long blades on a turbine. The spinning blades transfer wind energy to a generator, without producing carbon dioxide. Then, the generator produces electricity.

Wind farms generate electricity worldwide. If we use more wind energy, and less fossil fuel energy, we can reduce the amount of carbon dioxide we release into the air.

Going Green

Fuel for Thought

Wind farms provide electricity to about 4.5 million American homes.

Additional topics

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