How does wind energy work?
Thanks for your question!
Wind turbines work on the same principle that allows airplanes to fly. The wind doesn’t push the blades, but passes over them. The resulting pressure difference between the upper and lower surfaces creates lift, which causes the rotor to turn.
As the blades of a wind turbine turn, the kinetic energy of the wind is converted into mechanical energy, which is transmitted through a drive shaft to an electrical generator. The resulting electrical current travels via underground cables to a substation, where it is converted to a higher voltage for the larger electricity transmission or distribution grid. From there, it’s delivered to the electric utility and customers.
For a simple visual representation of this process, check out page 4 and 5 of The Secret is Out Wind is In brochure.
To find out more, visit http://windfacts.ca/why-wind-works and play with the “Harness the Power of Wind” interactive tool to discover how wind turbines capture the energy of moving air and convert it into electricity.
(Question answered November 2011)