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Why Does the Wind Blow?
As the air is warmed, it rises, and cooler air descends to fill the void. These differences in temperature and the resulting rise and fall of air, result in what is known as local winds. Prevailing winds are caused by the rotation of the earth and temperature differences between the polar caps and the equator.
How Do Wind Turbines Work?
The moving magnetic field between the coil and the magnets creates an electric current, which is drawn off and transmitted as electricity. Turbines come in a variety of sizes and capacities from 300 watt (W) ‘mini' turbines that homeowners can install themselves, to utility-scale turbines in the 3 to 5 megawatt (MW) range that can be over 120 metres tall.
There are two basic applications for modern turbines: small-scale personal use and large-scale generation. Small-scale turbines provide power generally for personal or home use, and are situated where the power will be used.
In Ontario, most small-scale wind turbine owners are likely to use most of the energy generated themselves, with maybe only a little left over to sell back to the electricity grid under the province's net metering program.
Larger-scale wind turbines, however, provide more power than can be used by a single home or group of homes. Instead, large-scale (also known as utility-scale) turbines sell their electricity to the Ontario power grid, similar to other traditional generators.
According to the Global Wind Energy Council, wind power has become an economic power, employing more than 120,000 people world-wide, with an annual turnover of more than US $14 billion, and an annual growth rate of more than 28% over the last 10 years. Enough power is being produced by wind to power more than 25 million households.
Wind power displaces traditional, polluting energy sources such as coal and gas and nuclear power, thereby helping to reduce greenhouse gas and other emissions that contribute to pollution and climate change.
Community renewable energy projects can have a significant impact on local society and economies by generating local jobs, favourable investment opportunities, benefits for local businesses, opportunities for education and greater capacity at the community level to bring about change. One study in the United States showed that locally owned generation can produce from 25 to 150 more jobs and between $700,000 to $4.3 million more in total value added than centralized, large-scale developments.
Did You Know?
Did You Know?
Last Updated: Wednesday, September 01, 2010 at 9:20:39 AM