- Megan Shaffer
The Power of Wind
National Wind Day is a global event that takes place annually on June 15th in order to celebrate wind and the energy that it creates. The power that wind energy produces is so great that it can change our entire energy system, help decrease pollution, and even boost employment.
Wind energy has already affected several countries and industries. Here are some cool facts that celebrate how wind is changing our world!
The Wind Industry Changed Economies
By producing turbines that generate wind, traditional industries like shipbuilding in Europe have ample opportunities for employment. Some of these companies now produce some of the major parts of the windmills, creating more jobs and using businesses that were becoming obsolete by taking advantage of the tools and skills they already had.
In America, wind turbine technician is one of the fastest growing jobs. States all over the country have invested billions in wind. In New Mexico this investment supported about 4,000 jobs.
Wind is Clean Energy
Wind power provides clean and emission-free power. By replacing the burning of fossil fuels, coal, or nuclear power, we can help keep our earth greener. Wind is a sustainable source of energy for our future, and allows us to not depend on creating a carbon footprint.
The U.S. wind power substitutes the carbon pollution of over 28 million cars for wind energy.
Related Activity: DIY Wind Car
A DIY wind car is a fun and easy science lesson! Building the car is a fun activity for kids of all ages to learn about the science of wind. Plus, it helps youngsters practice their fine motor skills. Find the instructions on stirthewonder.com.
The Sun Creates Wind Energy
When the sun warms up our planet, it isn’t always distributed equally. This causes temperature and pressure differences, which ultimately creates wind. Winds are the earth’s way of trying to counteract these differences in the temperature of the atmosphere.
Related Activity: Hot Air/Cold Air
This activity from Learning4Kids.net demonstrates how wind is created through the interaction of hot and cold air (as outlined above). All you need is water, ice, a balloon, and an old soft drink bottle. This activity is the perfect opportunity for children to practice their scientific observation skills.
Wind has been used for Thousands of Years
Way before electricity, wind was harnessed by windmills to press grain and pump clean water. Documented use of wind power goes back to 2000 B.C., when windmills were first developed in Persia and China. Now, we use modern turbines to create electricity.
The Taller the Turbine, the Faster the Wind
The higher up that a turbine can reach, the faster the winds it harnesses – the faster the winds, the more energy obtained. Turbines are being strategically placed at higher ground levels to maximum the amount of energy that is being created by each turbine.
Wind Turbines are Huge
Turbines can range from as high as 10 stories tall to 20 stories – that’s the height of the statue of liberty! – and have blades that average to about 180 feet long. A single turbine can contain as many as 8,000 different parts all working together.
The largest turbine in the world is located in Hawaii. It is 20 stories high and its blades are as long as a football field.
Turbines can float on Water
Turbines can be installed anywhere – including on floating structures that send electricity back to land with help of the undersea cables. Although turbines can be built on water, turbines are the one of the only forms of utility-scale energy that doesn’t use water.
Related Activity: Make a Miniature Wind Turbine
You’ve read a lot about wind turbines, but do you know what they actually are? This slightly more advanced activity from Popular Mechanics walks you through the process of building your very own turbine at home!
There’s a Difference Between Wind Turbines and Windmills
Windmills generate mechanical energy, but they don’t generate electricity. Turbines use the wind’s kinetic energy and convert it into electricity; one turbine can power up to 500 homes.
Related Activity: Milk Container Windmill
This craft turns a milk carton into a working windmill! All you need is tape, a milk carton, some cardboard, a cork, and a knitting needle. This little model is the perfect way to show your youngster what windmills are and how they work!
Wind energy has endless possibilities and presents the opportunity to be one of the major sources of clean energy in the future.
Happy National Wind day – make sure to take advantage of the breeze the next time you go outdoors!