Wind energy is created when the kinetic energy of the wind is converted into mechanical power. Today’s wind turbines are massive and used to support the electrical power infrastructure of our homes and businesses. Since the days of the windmill, however, we have been harnessing the power of the wind to grind grain, pump water, and complete other specific tasks.
What is wind energy used for in other capacities today? Here is a closer look at how we are using the energy from the wind.
1. We use wind energy to reduce negative environmental impacts.
Wind energy is a clean and non-polluting form of energy production. When wind power plants started being constructed in the 1990s for the first time, they were able to offset 2.5 billion pounds of carbon dioxide in 15 million pounds of miscellaneous pollutants that would have been created from fossil fuel energy generation. That’s like planting a forest of nearly 200 million trees.
2. We use wind energy to lower life-cycle energy production costs.
It is true that wind energy investments are initially higher that fossil fuel energy investments. About 80% of the cost of a wind turbine comes from the machinery needed to create it in the first time. When looking at the life-cycle cost of wind energy, however, the fuel and operating expenses are much lower over the life of each wind generator, which makes is a lower cost energy resource when long-term needs are considered.
3. We use wind energy as a direct power source.
Wind turbines that are able to generate 100 kilowatts or less of energy can directly power a farm, a home, or even a small business and still have electricity to spare. We can also use wind energy to deliver power directly to a power grid and then distribute that energy to end users within our current infrastructure.
4. We use wind energy to create power in difficult situations.
Wind energy does not require any water to operate, but it does require proper placement in order to maximize its potential. Because of this, wind energy can be created even when there are severe drought situations occurring. In some parts of the country, wind energy can even be a supplemental income for private investors because of its low environmental impact.
5. We use wind energy to prepare for the future.
The current estimate of wind energy from a future potential standpoint is current 10x higher than our current energy consumption levels. In the United States especially, strong wind resources are available in numerous communities so that power supplementation can occur immediately upon the installation of a new turbine. Wind energy also allows for public engagement in other ways due to its many development factors, reducing an overall dependence on one resource.
What is wind energy used for? In the past, we used it to complete a specific task. Today we are using it to set the stage for a better world thanks to its low-impact design.
Crystal Lombardo is a contributing editor for Vision Launch. Crystal is a seasoned writer and researcher with over 10 years of experience. She has been an editor of three popular blogs that each have had over 500,000 monthly readers.