• Reading Levels 3 - 5
Science | Geography

Wind power

How long have we used wind power?  Humans have been using the wind to make life easier for thousands of years. People originally used windmills in China and PersiaA historic region of southwestern Asia, linked to the area that is now Iran. , as early as 2,000 BC. Windmills were first used to pump water or to grind flour. The Netherlands is famous for windmills because farmers in the Middle AgesThe Middle Ages was the period in European history that came between ancient and modern times. It lasted from about 500 to about 1500. used them to pump the water away from marshes so they could grow crops. What is a wind turbine? A wind turbine is a kind of windmill that uses the power from wind to turn a generator. Just like a traditional windmill, it has sails called blades. Instead of moving a grinding machine, they set the generator in motion. When it moves, it creates electricity. Wind turbines are really big structures. The average tower is about 80m tall - nearly as tall as the Statue of Liberty - and most blades are more than 35m long. Why is wind power good for the planet?  Because it does not cause pollutionWhen harmful or dangerous things are put into the environment. , unlike power plants that burn fossil fuelsFuels made from decomposing plants and animals, including coal, natural gas and oil. These fuels release carbon dioxide, causing global warming.. They contribute to global warming by producing greenhouse gasesGreenhouse gases, which increase the atmosphere's capacity to hold heat, are vital to life on Earth: without them the planet would be freezing. But human activity is disturbing the delicate balance that created the conditions for life as we know it. Carbon dioxide is responsible for 60% of the manmade greenhouse effect, but we also produce smaller quantities of methane, ozone and nitrous oxide, which are even more damaging.. Wind is also a renewableEnergy sources, such as wind and solar power. source of energy, which means that it will not run out. Other popular ways to make power are non-renewable. This means they rely on sources that will eventually run out - like coal. But, as long as we have wind, the wind turbines will be able to make electricity. What happens if there isn't any wind? Wind is great because it is a natural form of power that will never run out for good. But the downside is that we cannot control it. When there is no wind, the blades do not turn and generate electricity. Engineers who plan wind farms make measurements and calculations to work out the best areas to place the turbines. One popular place is in the sea, where they are known as offshore wind farms. Why do some people dislike wind power? One major problem some people have is that wind turbines mess up our view of the landscape. Another argument against them is that they are loud, and that their large blades can kill birds. Most people agree that the positives outweigh the negatives, though. Many people even argue that wind turbines are beautiful. Are there other types of green power? Yes! Wind power is just one of many renewable energy sources that nature will replace. One of these is solarTo do with the sun. power, which uses light from the sun to make electricity. We also use water - controlling the power of big mountain rivers and waterfalls. Some countries also use the power of tides to generate power. In the past, renewable energy was less popular than coal or oil because it was more expensive to make electricity. But now, more people are recognising that clean energy is possible and makes a difference.KeywordsPersia - A historic region of southwestern Asia, linked to the area that is now Iran.

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