What is wind power? - Definition from WhatIs.com
Part of the Electronics glossary:

Wind power is the kinetic energy of wind, harnessed and redirected to perform a task mechanically or to generate electrical power.

Sailing and similar activities are among the simplest, oldest and most direct applications of wind power. Mechanical uses of wind power go back to ancient Greece. The first wind wheels, for example, relied upon gearing and shafts to power machinery. Windmills drive a millstone to grind grains, among other purposes. Wind has also long been used to power mechanical pumps to draw water for use and to drain land for agricultural purposes.

The basic wind turbine design consists of a bladed rotor that drives a shaft to a generator.  The generator uses electromagnetic induction to produce a voltage. Wind power was used to enable  electrolysis, the separation of water into hydrogen and oxygen, to make it possible to store energy as early as the 1890s.

Today, small-scale wind turbines for individual use generally have a maximum output of 400-1600 watts. In contrast, the largest industrial turbines might generate as much as 7.5 megawatts. Groupings of turbines are known as wind farms or wind parks.

Although windmills are still in use, wind turbines have become more common as the interest in renewable energy increases.

This was last updated in November 2013
Contributor(s): Matthew Haughn
Posted by: Margaret Rouse

Related Terms


  • laser

    - A laser is a coherent and focused beam of photons; coherent, in this context, means that it is all one wavelength, unlike ordinary light which showers on us in many wavelengths. The acronym laser s... (WhatIs.com)

  • photon

    - In some ways, visible light behaves like a wave phenomenon, but in other respects it acts like a stream of high-speed, submicroscopic particles. (WhatIs.com)

  • IR LED (infrared light-emitting diode)

    - An IR LED (infrared light emitting diode) is a solid state lighting (SSL) device that emits light in the infrared range of the electromagnetic radiation spectrum. (WhatIs.com)


  • Electronics

    - Terms related to electronics, including definitions about electrical components and words and phrases about computers, laptops parts, digital cameras, televisions and home appliances.

  • Internet applications

    - This WhatIs.com glossary contains terms related to Internet applications, including definitions about Software as a Service (SaaS) delivery models and words and phrases about web sites, e-commerce ...

Ask a Question. Find an Answer.Powered by ITKnowledgeExchange.com

Ask An IT Question

Get answers from your peers on your most technical challenges

Ask Question

Tech TalkComment



    Contribute to the conversation

    All fields are required. Comments will appear at the bottom of the article.