Today, wind energy is the world’s fastest growing energy technology. For hundreds of years, wind has been used in many different ways. Small windmills have been put to use to pump water or grind grain, while large, modern wind turbines are used to generate electricity either for individual use or distribution to power grids. Windmills are machines that harness wind energy and use it to create mechanical energy. Mills are typically placed somewhere higher than their surroundings to allow free access to wind without disturbance, and usually placed near large bodies of water, mountain tops, or valleys. When wind comes in contact with these wind turbines, the blades will begin to turn which powers the mechanics of the machine. The blades of electricity-generating windmills are connected to drive shafts that in turn run an electric generator. This is how the electricity is created that can be distributed through wires, or stored for future use.
Wind power currently supplies about one percent of the United States’ electricity needs. America is making progress in the field of wind energy as we hope to achieve twenty percent of the U.S.’s electricity needs by the year 2030. A recent program, Wind Powering America, has been started with the commitment to dramatically increase the use of wind energy. This program was established with the hopes of creating new sources of income for American farmers, Native Americans, and rural landowners, while also meeting the growing demand for clean sources of electricity.