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Science

Generating electricity

Wind energy

You should be able to outline how electricity is generated using wind energy.

Big convection currents

The wind is produced as a result of giant convection [convection: The transfer of heat energy through a moving liquid or gas. ] currents in the Earth's atmosphere, which are driven by heat energy from the sun. This means that the kinetic energy in wind is a renewable energy resource: as long as the sun exists, the wind will too.

Wind turbines

A wind turbine

Wind turbines have huge blades mounted on a tall tower. The blades are connected to a nacellenacelle: The part at the top of the tower of a wind turbine. The blades of the turbine are joined to the nacelle, which contains gears linked to a generator. or housing that contains gears linked to a generatorgenerator: An 123 electromagnetic device that produces electricity when it is turned.. As the wind blows, it transfers some of its kinetic energy to the blades, which turn and drive the generator. Several wind turbines may be grouped together in windy locations to form wind farms.

Advantages

Wind is a renewable energy resource and there are no fuel costs. No harmful polluting gases are produced.

Disadvantages

Watch

You may wish to view this BBC News item from 2006 about the arguments for and against wind power.

Wind farms are noisy and may spoil the view for people living near them. The amount of electricity generated depends on the strength of the wind. If there is no wind, there is no electricity.

Check that you understand convection currents by visiting Heat transfer and efficiency.

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