Wind power consists of turning energy from the wind to other energy forms. There are different ways to harness it. For example windmills produce mechanical energy, enable sails to move boats and generate electricity.
Windmills have been in use since 2000 B.C. and were first developed in Persia and China. Ancient mariners sailed to distant lands by making use of winds. Farmers used wind power to pump water and for grinding grains. Today the most popular use of wind energy is converting it to electrical energy to meet the critical energy needs of the planet.
Wind energy is underutilized as of now and holds tremendous potential for the future. Though there has been a 25% increase in wind turbine use in the last decade, wind energy still provides only a small percentage of the energy of the world.
Wind energy is mostly harnessed by wind turbines which are as high as 20 story buildings and have three blades which are 60 meter long. They resemble giant propellers of airplanes mounted on a stick. The blades are spun by the wind which transfers motion to a shaft connected to a generator which produces electricity.
The largest turbines can harness energy to power 600 American homes. These turbines form wind farms and hundreds are arranged in lines in windy spots like a ridge. A small turbine in the back yard can easily power a small business or a home. A wind farm is a collection of wind turbines in the same location. Many wind farms provide rental income to rural communities where they are situated.