Wind power is much more than the gentle breeze that causes the trees to sway or the waves to move across a lake. The power in the wind can blow a semitrailer truck off the road and flatten buildings. And it can be harnessed to be a non-polluting, never-ending source of energy to meet electric power needs around the world.
Wind power is a form of renewable energy – energy that is replenished daily by the sun. As portions of the earth are heated by the sun, air rushes to fill the low pressure areas, creating wind power. But the wind's characteristics may conceal its true power. The wind is slowed dramatically by friction as it brushes the ground and vegetation, it may not feel very windy at ground level. Yet the power in the wind may be five times greater at the height of a 40-story building (the height of the blade tip on a large, modern wind turbine) than the breeze on your face. Furthermore, the wind is accelerated by major land forms, so that entire areas of the country may be very windy while other areas are relatively calm. Since our country’s founders tended to build our cities and towns where the wind doesn’t blow strongly, the vast majority of people don’t live in high-wind areas. Yet, when wind power is converted to electricity, it can be sent long distances to serve the needs of the cities and towns where we do live.
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