The kinetic energy in wind can be converted into useful forms of energy such as mechanical energy or electricity. For centuries, wind energy has been harnessed for sailing ships, to turn mills, and to pump water. Today, wind is used more and more to generate electricity. Turbines with large propellers on ‘wind farms’ that are located prime wind corridors and are tied to existing electrical grids. Wind energy is captured only when the wind speed is sufficient to move the turbine blades, but not in high winds when the turbine might be damaged if operated.
Canada has large areas with excellent wind resources and therefore a significant potential for the expansion of wind-generated power. Some of the highest quality areas are offshore and along coastlines. For more local and homestead uses, a wind turbine is an excellent addition to a PV (solar panel) system. For example, BC’s coastal climate sees more wind and rain than sunny days. Although solar panels will generate some power in cloudy weather, wind turbines are perfect for those story days.