For hundreds of years, people have been using the power of wind. A sailboat was one of the earliest wind-powered machines. Without an engine, how did a sailboat travel across the water? Wind! Moving air, or wind, pushed against the sails. The power of the wind moved the boat. Later, people discovered that sail-like panels could be attached to a wheel at the top of a tower to make a windmill. Wind blowing against the panels caused the wheel and its central shaft to turn. The turning shaft drove mechanisms inside the tower to grind wheat. Windmills were also used to pump water from wells. When we capture the power of wind and use it to do work, we call that wind energy.
Today, large wind turbines use wind energy to create electricity for homes and businesses. These turbines look like tall, steel flowers. One wind turbine can power over 700 American homes. Some communities group wind turbines together to make wind farms. A wind farm acts as a power plant to produce electricity for a larger area.
Wind is replenished every day. Because we will never run out of wind, we call it a renewable energy source. When wind is converted to energy it does not give off gases that are bad for the atmosphere. That makes wind energy a clean resource. Using wind energy helps keep pollution out of the air and water.
What Can You Do? What kind of renewable energy resources are used in your area?
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