What Is a Wind Energy System?

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A wind energy system is a renewable energy system that turns wind energy into rotational energy and mechanical energy. Find out how windmills can power a generator with help from a science teacher in this free video on physical science.

Part of the Video Series: Physical & Life Science
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Video Transcript

Hi, I'm Steve Jones and I'm going to explain what a wind energy system is. Well first of all, wind energy is renewable because wind energy is created by the differences in temperatures of different parts of the earth and this produces a movement of the air which we call wind. Now if we look at a system we all know what a windmill is, we've seen windmills, but they're not always part of an energy system. In the past, windmills have been used for lifting water. They turn wind energy, energy from the sun, into some kind of rotational energy then into mechanical energy lifting water. So you can pump out a wet area for example in Holland typically. Modern systems are true energy systems because what we do is we create energy we can use and the rotation from the windmill goes into a generator and the generator generates electrical energy. The interesting thing about systems is that in the long run, we are looking also to be able to store the energy and here we have an electrical system and we can store this in for example, batteries. In batteries, if we use batteries, we can store the electrical energy by charging batteries. Then later on we can use that energy. So we're storing the energy which comes from the sun. Whereas lifting water, you would think that's not storing energy but if you imagine here is a large dam and here is the water at the bottom of the dam and here is the water behind the dam, then if I have a system which pumps water from the bottom to the top, this is actually storing energy because if I move the water from the bottom to the top, the water at the top can then in reverse drive a generator and that can give me my energy back. So what I'm looking at here is a method of storing energy. So within my wind energy system, I expect there to be something that turns the wind or the energy from the sun into rotation, I expect then energy to be generated, it could electrical energy, to operate a pump or to charge batteries and then I can use the water where I've put it to generate electricity by allowing the water to fall through a generator and here I can allow the batteries to drive the circuit. So basically that is a wind energy system.

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