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Alternative Energy


Energy 101: Wind Turbines (Video)
See how wind turbines generate clean electricity from the power of wind. The video highlights the basic principles at work in wind turbines, and illustrates how the various components work to capture and convert wind energy to electricity. This updated version also includes information on the Energy Department's efforts to advance offshore wind power.

Frequently Asked Questions on Small Wind Systems

Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC)
Wind is a powerful and plentiful resource that can provide energy without burning fossil fuel or emitting greenhouse gases. A single small wind turbine can generate enough clean electricity for local use. Connect several large turbines to an electric power grid and you have a wind farm -- a wind energy system generating significant amounts of pollution-free, renewable electric power to be used anywhere power lines reach.

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
Winds are caused by the interaction of the uneven heating of the atmosphere with the uneven surface of the earth, and the earth’s rotation. Winds can generate both electricity and mechanical power. In the case of electricity, the wind pushes the blades of a wind turbine, and the kinetic energy generated from that activity is converted to mechanical power. That mechanical power is then used to drive a generator that produces electricity that can be used in homes and businesses, or sold back to an electricity provider for use on the grid.

U.S Department of Energy (DOE)
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) leads national efforts to improve the performance, lower the costs, and accelerate the deployment of wind energy technologies—both on land and offshore. DOE is linked to more patents in wind energy than any other organization, and those innovations helped the installed U.S. wind energy capacity to increase nearly 16-fold between 2000 and 2010. Today's wind industry supports 75,000 U.S. jobs, including workers at more than 400 manufacturing plants in 44 states.