How wind turbines work
Wind turbines use blades to collect the wind’s kinetic energy. Wind flows over the blades creating lift (similar to the effect on airplane wings), which causes the blades to turn. The blades are connected to a drive shaft that turns an electric generator, which produces the electricity.
Diagram of wind turbine components
Source: National Renewable Energy Laboratory, U.S. Department of Energy (public domain)
Electricity generation with wind
In 2018, wind turbines in the United States were the source of about 6.6% of total U.S. utility-scale electricity generation.
The amount of electricity generated from wind has grown significantly since 2000. Electricity generation from wind in the United States increased from about 6 billion kilowatthours (kWh) in 2000 to about 275 billion kWh in 2018.
New technologies have decreased the cost of producing electricity from wind, and growth in wind power has been encouraged by government and industry incentives.
Last updated: April 4, 2019