windpower

Encyclopedia

windpower

form of energy conversion in which turbines convert the kinetic energy of wind into mechanical or electrical energy that can be used for power. Since wind power does not require the use of fossil fuels, it is considered a renewable energy source. Historically, wind power in the form of windmills has been used for centuries for such tasks as grinding grain and pumping water. Modern commercial wind turbines produce electricity by using rotational energy to drive a generator. They are made up of a blade or rotor and an enclosure called a nacelle that contains a drive train atop a tall tower. Large wind turbines (producing up to 1.8 megawatts of power) can have a blade length of over 40 metres (about 130 feet) and be placed on towers 80 metres (about 260 feet) tall. Smaller turbines can be used to provide power to individual homes. Wind farms are areas where a number of wind turbines are grouped together, providing a larger total energy source.

Learn more about windpower with a free trial on Britannica.com.

Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
Cite This Source
Explore Dictionary.com
Previous Definition: windpollination
Next Definition: windproof
Words Near: windpower
More from Thesaurus.com
Synonyms and Antonyms for windpower
More from Reference.com
Search for articles containing windpower
More from Dictionary.com Translator
Dictionary.com Word FAQs

Dictionary.com presents 366 FAQs, incorporating some of the frequently asked questions from the past with newer queries.

Copyright © 2014 Dictionary.com, LLC. All rights reserved.
  • Please Login or Sign Up to use the Recent Searches feature