RENEWABLE ENERGY FACTS
What is Wind Energy?
Wind energy converts kinetic energy that is present in the wind into more useful forms of energy, such as mechanical energy or electricity. Wind energy is a pollution-free, infinitely sustainable form of energy. It doesn’t use fuel; it doesn’t produce greenhouse gasses, and it doesn’t produce toxic or radioactive waste. Windmills that were used to grind grain are an example of early uses of wind energy. Modern uses of wind energy include generation of electricity and pumping water. Current wind energy machines are called “wind turbine generators”, “wind pumps”, or more generally, “wind turbines”.
The History of Wind Energy
Humans have used wind energy for thousands of years. Ancient Persians used wind energy to pump water before the birth of Christ. The world was explored by wind-driven ships long before engines were invented. As early as the 1920s, over a million wind turbines pumped water and provided electricity to farms in North America.
The current interest in wind energy was started by the need to develop clean, sustainable energy systems that can be relied on for the long-term future. Modern aerodynamics and engineering have improved wind turbines. They now provide reliable, cost-effective, pollution-free energy for individual, community, and national applications.
What is Solar Power?
Solar power is the conversion of sunlight to electricity. Sunlight can be converted directly into electricity using photovoltaics (PV), or indirectly with concentrating solar power (CSP), which normally focuses the sun’s energy to boil water which is then used to provide power.
Photovoltaics (PVs) are arrays of cells containing a solar photovoltaic material that converts solar radiation into direct current electricity.
Concentrated solar power (CSP) systems use lenses or mirrors to focus a large area of sunlight onto a small area. Electrical power is produced when the concentrated light is directed onto photovoltaic surfaces.