Electricity can be produced using the movement of air; this is referred to as wind energy, which is a renewable resource. The U.S. has tremendous wind energy resources, ranking second in the world behind Germany in installed wind power capacity. It is estimated that the total amount of electricity that could potentially be generated from wind in the U.S. is 10,777 billion kWh annually, more than twice the electricity currently generated in the U.S.
Iowa’s potential for wind energy generation ranks in the top 10 of states in the U.S., with a potential of 551 billion kWh annually. Iowa currently gets close to 5% of its electricity from wind energy. This energy comes from the more than 600 wind turbines currently producing enough electricity to power over 140,000 homes in Iowa. Some consideration is being given to installing a wind turbine on the Capitol Complex.
- Wind comes from uneven heating of the earth’s surface by the sun. Wind farms are typically built in flat, open areas where the wind blows at least 14 mph.
- Most wind turbines stand over 100 feet tall to take advantage of the more constant winds at high altitudes.
- Wind turns the blades, which spins a shaft.
- The shaft is connected to a generator which produces electricity.
- The electricity is sent through transmission and distribution lines to a substation.
- The electricity can then be used to power homes, schools and businesses – and even state government!