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Wind power capacity has expanded quickly to 336 GW in June 2014, and wind energy production was about 4% of total worldwide electricity usage, and growing fast. Wind power is widely used in European countries, and more recently in the United States and Asia. In 2012 wind power accounted for approximately 30% of electricity generation in Denmark, 20% in Portugal and 18% in Spain.
How it works
Wind power stations use the wind to turn a turbine which turns a magnet inside a coil (a type of generator). The wind has kinetic energy (movement energy) which is changed into mechanical energy by the blades on the turbine. The turbine then turns a generator which creates electrical energy (voltage). The turbine is usually connected by a gearbox to help control the speed it turns the generator at.
Wind Power Stations have the advantage over Fossil Fuel Power Stations as they do not produce any greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide or water vapour. They also do not produce gases that help make acid rain such as sulfur dioxide.
Wind Power Stations have to be carefully placed. They must be in positions where there is a constant, steady supply of wind. In fact, the wind must not become too strong or it may damage the turbine. Because wind is unpredictable, so is the amount of power that wind turbines will produce, making them an unreliable source of energy. Some people also consider wind turbines to be ugly and unsightly.
The London Array under construction in 2009
- GWEC, Global Wind Report Annual Market Update
- "Wind power in the UK". BBC News. 2007-12-18. http://news.bbc.co.uk/cbbcnews/hi/newsid_4610000/newsid_4614700/4614743.stm. Retrieved 2010-03-10.
- The World Wind Energy Association (2014). 2014 Half-year Report. WWEA. pp. 1-8.
- Global wind energy markets continue to boom – 2006 another record year (PDF).
- Global Wind Energy Council (2009). Global Wind 2008 Report, p. 9, accessed on January 4, 2010.
- International Energy Agency (2013). IEA Wind Energy: Annual Report 2012 p. 5.
- The Climate Change Guide easy-to-understand information on Wind power