Wind Energy: A Cleaner Planet | Teen Ink

Wind Energy: A Cleaner Planet

November 8, 2008
By Anonymous

Most of us could probably agree that the United States needs to find a less expensive, more effective way of producing electricity. Almost half of the electricity produced in the United States is derived from coal. Coal is a non-renewable resource, because it takes millions of years to create. This means once we use all of the coal in the Earth, it will take millions of years before there is more coal to use.
Coal is also detrimental to the environment in many ways. During the mining of coal, land can be damaged, as well as waterways. Restoring the land damaged by surface mining is very important, along with preventing damage to ground and surface water. Additionally, when coal is burned, (as it is when producing electricity), it releases carbon dioxide, the main contributor of global warming. Burning coal also produces emissions including sulfur, nitrogen oxide (NOx), and mercury, which can pollute air and water.
That is why I propose a new method of producing energy: wind energy. Wind is a form of solar energy. Wind is created by differences in pressure from one location to another in the Earth’s atmosphere, caused by the uneven heating of the atmosphere by the sun, the irregularities of the earth's surface, and rotation of the earth. “Wind energy” is created when the wind is used to create mechanical energy or electricity. Wind turbines can turn the kinetic energy from the wind into mechanical power. Then, a generator can convert the mechanical power into energy.
The wind turns a blade of the wind turbine, which turns a shaft. The shaft connects to a generator, and makes electricity. Turbines range in size from 100 kilowatts to several megawatts. Larger turbines can be grouped into one area, called a wind farm, which provides bulk power to the electrical grid.
Wind energy has many advantages, such as being clean. This means that there is no “by-product” of wind energy. Wind turbines don’t pollute the air or rely on fossil fuels. Wind energy is also renewable. This means that there is no limit to wind, the supply is abundant, and we will never run out. Wind energy is also among the lowest-priced renewable energy technologies available, costing between 4 and 6 cents per kilowatt-hour, depending on the wind and the finances of the particular project. Many wind turbines are built on farms or rural land, where most prime wind is found. Farmers can continue to farm the land, because windmills only take up a small fraction of the land.
Wind energy currently accounts for about 1.5% of energy produced in the United States. I believe that if this percentage were increased, the human impact on Earth could be greatly reduced, and we could have a cleaner, safer planet.

The author's comments:
I am a High School Senior, studying environmental sciences. This work was inspired by a project for my Environmental Science class. I hope to obtain a degree in Environmental Studies, as well as journalism.

This will certify that the above work is completely original, Zachary Castle

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