Wind farming is becoming increasingly popular throughout the world – and the Midwest.
In fact, Iowa is the third largest producer of wind energy in the Midwest in the United States and is second only to California and Texas (according to the Iowa Energy Center, https://www.iowaeconomicdevelopment.com/energy/renewable/wind/).
What does lots of wind energy in the Midwest mean?
Iowa is the only state that possesses large amounts of wind power in the Midwest, stretching all the way to the East Coast. Not only is this a valuable asset to the state of Iowa in terms of energy, but it is also a tourist attraction. Wind farms are a beautiful sight to see, and there is a lot of valuable information to be had there.
Where can I find wind energy farms in the Midwest or Iowa?
Wind farms are not hard to find if you know where to look – the typical turbine is anywhere from 27 to 90 meters high. Iowa’s state capitol building is about 84 meters, to put things in perspective.
There are wind farms located in Adair, Storm Lake, Spirit Lake, and Ames, Iowa. Some are owned by local families, and others are supported by plants like GE Wind.
The wind farm in Alta, Iowa, is one of the largest wind farms in the world. The whole community revolves around the wind energy that is harnessed there, and though there are many things to do and see there, most visitors come to see the turbines. There is also an increasing number of wind farms in Illinois
How does a wind farm work?
Wind turbines use the wind they harness to make electricity. The blades of the turbine are constantly being spun by the wind, which in turn is connected to a generator, which is what makes the electricity. It’s kind of like a fan, but instead of using electricity, the wind turbine creates it!
Wind turbines on a wind farm are usually connected to some kind of utility grid, which is what gives businesses, homes, and other types of buildings the electricity they need. More wind farms = more wind energy in the midwest!
How many kinds of wind turbines are there?
There are generally two kinds of wind farms, both wind farms have advantages and disadvantages, and one is much more prevalent than the other. The type that one would normally see in a Midwestern wind farm is called a horizontal-axis wind turbine – they are oftentimes painted white, have long vertical stumps, and end with the blades which turn the wind – usually two to three blades per turbine.
The other type of wind turbine is called a vertical-axis wind turbine. These are much more complex to engineer and feature a different type of blade to harness the wind energy.
The importance of wind farming in the United States is simple – this booming industry is giving new hope and new jobs to the citizens who reside there. The Midwest is becoming a vital part of the world through our contributions of ethanol for cleaner fuel, and wind energy for fewer fossil fuels burned.
For more information, visit the American Wind Energy Association, at https://www.awea.org/wind-power-101.