Electricity can be produced from the wind using wind turbines. Wind is generally the last expensive form of renewable energy.
How It Works
In most wind turbines, the blades are kept facing into the wind which makes them rotate. This motion powers a generator housed in the “nacelle” which sits at the top of a tower.
Obviously, it is best to locate wind turbines in a place that is windy - such as on hilltops. But it is just as important to have consistent wind. This is one reason why offshore locations are often chosen. For the same reason, having the turbine above trees and buildings is also important - so turbines are build on high towers and not located in cities where the building produce a lot of turbulence.
Wind farm in Germany
Modern wind turbines are not noisy. They make a whooshing sound that from a distance of 250 metres sounds about as loud as a refrigerator. The wind itself often makes more noise.
In the 1980s, one wind farm in California had a problem with birds being killed by flying into the blades. Wind farms are now carefully located so as to avoid bird and bat flight paths and it is very rare for birds to be killed by wind turbines. Researchers have shown that the number of birds killed for each unit of energy produced is almost twenty times higher for fossil fuel production compared to wind turbines. In the case of fossil fuels, birds are killed through collision and electrocution with operating plant equipment, from poisoning by mercury and other pollution, by nesting sites destroyed by acid rain and by habitat destruction.
Wind farm off Denmark