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Wind Turbine

  • By: Christopher A. Badurek
  • In: Green Technology: An A-to-Z Guide
  • Edited by: Dustin Mulvaney
  • Subject:Environmental Sciences (general), Environmental Technology, Policy & Management

Technologies for harnessing wind energy have been used for thousands of years, with the most recent innovation being the wind turbine. This entry reviews wind turbine technology, power estimation, turbine siting factors, environmental and socioeconomic concerns with wind turbines, and the extent of current wind power generation.

Early civilizations used wind power for sailing vessels and in milling grains and pumping water through the use of windmills. Perhaps the most commonly known windmill, the traditional north European tower windmill type, used elongated rectangular sails attached to four radial arms to turn a rotor for grinding or water pumping. The radial arms rotated around a horizontal axis and were positioned in the prevailing wind direction. These windmills were a common site on the landscape in Holland and ...

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