Simply put, windmills work by harnessing the energy of the wind. They take the kinetic energy produced by the wind's motion and turn it into other types of energy. Usually, that new energy form is electricity. Windmill energy gains increasing attention as more people look for ways to protect the environment by using green energy sources. Windmill energy is green because it does not consume its energy source, the wind. Also, the process of harnessing wind energy does not produce harmful byproducts that pollute the environment.

Part 1


Structure and Transfer of Energy

The basic structure of a windmill is a shaft, two blades, a rotor and a generator. The shaft is a hollow pole that stands up to 20 stories off the ground. They stand that high to catch faster winds, which have more kinetic energy. The blades can be up to 300 feet wide. The rotor is connected to the blades and activated when they turn. The rotor is connected to a generator under the shaft. The transfer of energy therefore goes from the blades, to the rotor, down through the shaft to the generator, and out to transformers. The transformers can then route the electricity to various buildings.


From Lift to Electricity

The windmill blades slow the wind that moves past them, which creates lift. The lift makes the blades turn faster and generate more energy than what came from the wind. Once the rotor is turned, the energy is no longer kinetic, but it becomes electric. Some windmills do have a computing device that controls the direction of the blades. The process by which the rotor creates electricity is very much like the way feet shuffling over carpet creates static electricity.


Working in Groups and Storing Energy

One of the drawbacks to the theory of windmill energy is that without the wind, they don't work. However, some windmills can store energy when the wind is plentiful so it can be used whenever the electricity is needed. Some buildings get their electricity from a combination of traditional sources and a windmill. When the wind is blowing, the windmill supplies power. Windmills can also be grouped together on windmill farms. The biggest windmill farm generates power that can be used by thousands of homes or businesses. Windmills are the most useful where the weather is warm. This is because the wind blows more where it's warm.


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