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Wind turbines are the second most used renewable energy source around the world. With China being the biggest producers of this clean, green energy. They work by converting the winds kinetic energy into electrical power. Although horizontal axis wind turbines are more common they are also manufactured in vertical axis types, which is more of an advantage in areas with turbulent winds. The smallest of turbines are used for applications, like battery charges for auxiliary power for boats or caravans, or power traffic warning signs. Those of a larger size can be used for making donations to a domestic power supply, whilst selling unused power to the utility supplier through the electrical grid. Arrays of wind turbines, also known as wind farms, are becoming increasingly popular and important sources of renewable energy. They are also used by many countries around the world as part of a needed global strategy to lower their reliance on unsustainable fossil fuels.
The first known instance of using wind to power machinery was the wind-wheel created by the ‘Hero of Alexandria’ a Greek mathematician. In Persia windmills were used between 500AD to 900AD. However the first known practical windmills were first built in Sistan from the 7th century. These ‘Panemone’ were vertical axle windmills, which meant that they had long vertical drive shafts with rectangular blades. Being made up of around 6 to 12 sails covered in reed matting or cloth material, these types of windmills tend to be used to grind grain or draw up water, and were used in the gristmiling and sugarcane industries.
Windmills made their first appearance in Europe during the Middle Ages. The first historical records showing the use of windmills in England date back to the 11th or 12th centuries. From the 14th century, Dutch windmills were used to drain such areas of the Rhine delta. More advanced windmills were said to be written and described by the Croatian inventor Fausto Veranzio where he described vertical axis wind turbines with curved or V-shaped blades in his book, Machinae Novae (1595).
Wind turbines can generate all types of revenue, suggested by project developments and operating cost estimates and with the assumption of a design life of 20 years for a high quality modern wind turbine. A renewable energy co-operative building wind turbines in areas such as Derbyshire and Yorkshire in the UK, has estimated a 7.3% return for investors a year. In other areas like Teesside, where by local farms and businesses will be powered by turbines which can guarantee returns of up to 7.5% a year whilst in Cornwall a single wind turbine is thought to return around 9% a year.
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