While this type of energy has been around for a long time (think windmills, invented thousands of years ago), it’s perfectly reasonable to have questions about how this type of technology works. Looking back at the history of windmills, they’re actually a lot older than I even thought! Since we didn’t really have electricity-powered-homes or steam power until the start of the industrial revolution, lots of cultures around the world relied upon these gentle giants to help pump water out of wells and irrigate crops. Check out this article on the history of windmills to learn more: http://www.historyofwindmills.com/.
Wind farms can be found all over the world – from the Gansu province in China (the world’s largest wind energy producer, https://www.power-technology.com/features/wind-energy-by-country/), to the great plains in the Midwest USA (see wind patterns here: https://www.energy.gov/eere/wind/wind-resource-assessment-and-characterization) and Canada, to the largest wind farm in Africa in northern Kenya (https://www.cnn.com/2019/07/20/africa/africas-largest-wind-farm-intl/index.html#:~:text=Africa%20has%20fully%20operational%20wind,MW%20to%20the%20national%20grid), to a myriad of countries in Europe (https://windeurope.org/about-wind/daily-wind/), and South America (https://www.nsenergybusiness.com/features/top-five-wind-power-countries-south-america/). There are even wind turbines in Antarctica (https://www.nsf.gov/news/mmg/mmg_disp.jsp?med_id=68353#:~:text=Three%20new%20wind%20turbines%20located,a%20total%20of%20990%20kw.)! Safe to say that no matter which continent you hail from, you can find a windmill or a wind farm somewhere.
In the early days of wind energy, windmills were often used to pump water. Here’s a really interesting article and graphic on how this works even today, from US-based windmill producer Aeromotor’s website, here: https://aermotorwindmill.com/pages/how-a-windmill-works. Later on, windmills evolved to produce actual energy by: “Wind turns the propeller-like blades of a turbine around a rotor, which spins a generator, which creates electricity” according to the DOE website (https://www.energy.gov/eere/wind/how-do-wind-turbines-work). Like most things regarding energy, you can be sure to find some good information on the US Department of Energy’s website, and wind energy is certainly no exception. In addition to the previous link which details how wind energy is created, check out the following link and visual graphic on how wind energy is produced and transported through the energy grid: https://www.energy.gov/eere/wind/animation-how-wind-turbine-works.