Wind Farm Approved

A "wind farm" is coming to Lee County.

Florida Power and Light Energy Illinois Wind LLC will build 60 windmills on more than seven thousand acres in Lee County. Construction on the $200 million project is expected to begin in May. It will generate electricity without polluting the environment. The Lee County Board approved the plan yesterday

FPL has more than four million customers in Florida. A company spokesman says the company will build 25 wind turbines in 2003 and 35 more in 2004. The 215-foot-tall windmills will be 16 feet in diameter with three-bladed propellers, spanning 115 feet.

The company has reached agreements with 38 Lee County landowners to place turbines on their property.

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Quick Facts About Wind Energy

What is wind energy?

The terms "wind energy" or "wind power" describe the process by which the wind is used to generate mechanical power or electricity.

Wind turbines convert the kinetic energy in the wind into mechanical power. This mechanical power can be used for specific tasks (such as grinding grain or pumping water) or a generator can convert this mechanical power into electricity to power homes, businesses, schools, and the like.

What causes the wind to blow?

Wind is a form of solar energy. Winds are caused by the uneven heating of the atmosphere by the sun, the irregularities of the earth's surface, and rotation of the earth.

Wind flow patterns are modified by the earth's terrain, bodies of water, and vegetative cover. This wind flow, or motion energy, when "harvested" by modern wind turbines can be used to generate electricity.

When was wind energy first used?

Since earliest recorded history, wind power has been used to move ships, grind grain and pump water. There is evidence that wind energy was used to propel boats along the Nile River as early as 5000 B.C. Within several centuries before Christ, simple windmills were used in China to pump water.

In the United States, millions of windmills were erected as the American West was developed during the late 19th century.

Most of them were used to pump water for farms and ranches. By 1900, small electric wind systems were developed to generate direct current, but most of these units fell into disuse as inexpensive grid power was extended to rural areas during the 1930s.

By 1910, wind turbine generators were producing electricity in many European countries.

How is the energy in the wind captured?

Wind turbines, like aircraft propeller blades, turn in the moving air and power an electric generator which supplies an electric current. Modern wind turbines fall into two basic groups; the horizontal-axis variety, like the traditional farm windmills used for pumping water; and the vertical-axis design, like the eggbeater-style Darrieus model, named after its French inventor.

Modern wind technology takes advantage of advances in materials, engineering, electronics, and aerodynamics. Wind turbines are often grouped together into a single wind power plant, also known as a wind farm, and generate bulk electrical power.

Electricity from these turbines is fed into the local utility grid and distribute to customers just as it is with conventional power plants.

Source: http://www.eren.doe.gov/wind/web.html (U.S. Department of Energy).


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