Why Is Wind Renewable?

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Wind is a renewable energy because it is the sun heating and cooling the earth that causes wind and the sun has an almost infinite capacity for energy. Learn how the heating and cooling of land compared to the ocean causes wind with information from a math and science teacher in this free video science lesson.

Part of the Video Series: Science & Environmental Facts
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Video Transcript

Hi I'm Steve Jones and I am going to explain why wind is renewable. Well at least let's say the energy from wind is renewable. In fact the energy from wind like all energies on the Earth basically comes from the sun so let's see how this occurs. Here is my sun it is not a very pretty sun but it is the sun nonetheless and the sun is the source of energy. Now on the surface of the Earth you have land and you have sea and most coastal winds are caused by the difference in temperature between the land and the sea. The air just above the sea is going to maintain more or less a constant temperature because the seas temperature remains more or less constant whereas the land tends to heat up and cool down, heat up during the day in the direct sun and then cool down at night. This is a result of the energy from the sun. If this area is hot then the air here is hotter and less dense so the air will tend to rise during the day so this represents the day time where the air rises above the land. Now what happens at night when this is cold and this is comparatively warmer, actually this is the same temperature but this is cooler. We get the same effect that the air is going to move upwards in this area at night and therefore we get a breeze off the land at night but during the day we get this cooling breeze from the sea. The breeze or the wind is caused simply by this heating effect. The energy that causes the movement comes directly from the sun, from the heat produced by the sun so we gain energy from the sun. We don't lose anything we are gaining energy. We can say therefore it is renewable because the sun's capacity for getting us this energy is almost infinite. The sun has been for several thousand million years and will continue to be there similarly, giving out this energy. So this is why wind or should we say wind energy is renewable because the sun is going to be there to give it for my life time, your life time and everybody else's lifetime too.

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