What do you think of when you hear the word “farm”? Animals? Vegetables? Tractors? Farmers? Would you believe there are farms without any of those things? It’s true! What are we talking about? Wind farms!

Wind farms are areas where many large wind turbines have been grouped together to “harvest” the power of the wind. These large turbines look a bit like super-tall, futuristic windmills.

A large wind farm can contain hundreds of wind turbines spread out over hundreds of miles. The land in between the turbines may be used for other purposes, such as regular agricultural farming. Some wind farms are also located offshore to take advantage of winds that blow across lakes or oceans.

Did you realize that wind energy is actually another form of solar energy? Winds are created by the combination of the rotation of the Earth, the irregular shape of the Earth’s surface and the uneven heating of the atmosphere by the Sun’s rays.

Wind farms are built in areas known to be especially windy on a regular basis. As the winds turn the blades of the turbines, the turbines convert the energy of the wind into mechanical power. Generators then convert the mechanical power into electricity that can be used to power homes just like other forms of energy.

If it’s easier, you can think of a wind turbine as the opposite of a fan. A fan uses electricity to make wind. Wind turbines do the opposite: they use the wind to make electricity! As the wind turns the blades of a wind turbine, the blades cause a shaft to spin. The spinning shaft connects to a generator that creates electricity.

If you’re wondering why scientists looked to the wind as an energy source, there are plenty of good reasons. Wind energy is free and renewable and, unlike conventional power plants, wind farms don’t emit pollutants or greenhouse gases.

On the negative side, wind farms can cost a lot of money to set up. Over time, though, their cost is competitive with other types of generating systems. Unfortunately, you can’t make the wind blow whenever you want it to, so wind farms can’t always meet electricity needs on demand.

Over time, scientists believe new technologies, such as using batteries to store wind power for peak demand times, will make wind power even more popular. Wind power already accounts for about 3% of the United States’ electricity. Experts believe wind power will account for 20% of the nation’s electricity by 2030.

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    • HOORAY, we’re so happy that you liked WONDERing about wind farms today, Siddman! Energy can be created in many different ways, and this particular way is pretty COOL to learn about! Thanks for sharing your comment, Wonder Friend! :)

  1. Dear Wonderopolis,

    Happy birthday Wonderopolis!!! You’re “TWO” fantastic! We have learned so much from you!

    Love,
    Mrs. Reasor’s Fourth Grade Class

    • How SWEET are our Wonder Friends in Mrs. Reasor’s Fourth Grade class?! :) We are so thankful for your birthday wishes– you’ve got us giggling, “TWO”! Time flies when you’re having fun WONDERing! We love using our imaginations with you, and we are so proud of all that you’ve learned! Have a TERRIFIC Thursday! :)

  2. We learned a lot about wind farms. We think they are cool. Putting wind turbines in the ocean is a great idea because it is windy there.

    We think tomorrow’s wonder will be about snakes, koala, kangaroos, or golden bushtail.

    • We are so proud of our Wonder Friends in Ms. Bayko’s class– what a windy adventure! Isn’t it fun to learn about how energy can be created using wind? We agree– oceans are a great, windy place, too! Thanks for sharing your SUPER comment with us today– we’re very proud that you’ve all learned something new!

      We can’t wait for our “down under” adventure tomorrow– we Wonder what it could be! :)

  3. Most of the class have seen wind turbines before. We enjoyed the video, and most kids wish they could travel up a wind turbine to get that great view.

    How powerful is the energy that comes from wind? Would it make our lights as bright as traditional forms of energy?

    We think tomorrow’s wonder will be about an Australian animal, such as the kangaroo or koala.

    • Mrs. Wall’s WONDERful 4th Grade class has been doing an excellent job of using their imaginations today! We are so proud of all of you– learning about energy and where it comes from is very cool, and very important, too!

      We think the view from the top is pretty cool– imagine climbing up the wind turbine, like we saw in the video… we Wonder how long it would take to get up there… :)

      The free, renewable energy that comes from wind farms would work just like the energy we use to turn on our lights and charge our computers. We Wonder if you can find out some more information about the energy that comes from these wind farms.

      We can’t wait to Wonder with you again tomorrow… it will be a new adventure “down under”! :)

  4. Dear Wonderopolis,

    It was fun learning about the wind farms. We think tomorrow’s wonder will be about animals that live underground like a mole or rabbit. Some of us think it might be about an animal from Australia because it is called “down under.”

    Thank you for the wonders,
    Mrs. Tillman’s 4th graders

    • HOORAY, we are happy that our Wonder Friends in Mrs. Tillman’s 4th grade class are here! We are proud of all of you for WONDERing about how wind and energy are related, too!

      Tomorrow’s Wonder will be a fun adventure– we can’t wait to use our imaginations together for a new, “down under” Wonder! Thanks for sharing your WONDERful guesses with us– you ROCK! :)

  5. Happy Birthday Wonderopolis from your friends in Canada!
    Some of our favourite wonders over the past year have been: potatoes, beat boxing, kazoo, groundhogs on vacuums, changing oil on trucks, sugar gliders, the girl’s foot falling asleep, parrots and many many more.
    Thank you for giving us such a wonderful and rich learning experience every day!
    Warmest regards,
    Ms. Barnett’s 4/5 class

    • Thanks for sending us birthday wishes, Wonder Friends in Ms. Barnett’s 4/5 class! We’re so lucky to have great friends like you! Also, we LOVE hearing about your favorite Wonders from the year– it’s so much fun to use our imaginations together and learn about new and exciting things! Who knows where the Wonders will take us!

      We love being a part of your classroom– thanks again for sharing your comment today! :)

  6. Good morning, Wonderopolis!

    Happy birthday, to you!

    Happy birthday, to you!

    Happy birthday, dear Wonderopolis.

    Happy birthday, to you!

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY, WONDEROPOLIS!

    We LOVE wondering with you each morning of our day!

    Happy wondering!
    Mrs. Phillips’ 2nd Grade Class

    • WOWZA! We are over-the-moon with birthday wishes today! Thank you, thank for singing to us on our 2nd birthday! Also, we REALLY LOVED your special birthday video that you made for us– we are lucky to have thoughtful, WONDERful friends like you! We can’t wait to see you tomorrow morning… and we hope you enjoyed those cupcakes– they sure looked delicious!

      We’re sending virtual high fives and lots of thanks for celebrating our birthday today! :)

  7. We loved learning about wind farms. There is a wind farm on the way to Chicago from Indianapolis.

    Many thanks for the wonders,

    Henry and Holyn

    • Hi there, Henry and Holyn! We’re so glad that you have a wind farm to see while you travel North! It’s so cool that you can spot them miles away — and now you’ve learned something new about them, too! We’re oh-so-glad you’re here, Wonder Friends in Mrs. Murphy’s class! :)

  8. Wonderopolis I would like it if people would stop giving away what the wonders are going to be, it ruins. Thank you have a great day. ;)

    • Hi there, Jacob, we appreciate your comment today! We don’t like to spoil the surprise of tomorrow’s Wonder– that’s no fun! We always include a little clue about the next day’s Wonder– guessing is good for our brains and imaginations! You don’t have to look at the clue if you don’t want to. However, we’d love it if you guessed with us, too! We are glad you’re WONDERing with us today, Jacob! Thanks! :)

    • Aww, thanks for your lovely birthday comment, FaZe TriCks! We are so glad that you are celebrating with us– have a WONDERful day! :)

    • Thanks for sharing your enthusiasm, Will A! It’s so much fun to Wonder with you– we love learning new things each day! Have a SUPER day, Wonder Friend Will! :)

  9. Cool!
    Happy Birthday,
    happy birthday,
    happy birthday to Wonderopolis!

    I have had so many wonder-fun-derful wonders with everyone! HAPPY BIRTHDAY WONDEROPOLIS! :) :)

    • Your happy birthday song was so special, Missy! Thanks for sharing your comment today and wishing us a happy birthday! We are so lucky to have a great Wonder Friend like you! :)

  10. Happy 2nd Birthday Wonderopolis,

    We enjoyed the video for today, it was really cool to learn about wind farms.

    We think tomorrow will be about small animals that live underground, kangaroos (because they can be found “down under,” or plankton because it is underwater and needs a “close up look.”

    Have a WONDERful birthday!
    Your friends in Mrs. Witkowski’s class

    • Why thank you, Wonder Friends in Mrs. Witkowski’s 4th grade class! We really enjoy WONDERing with all of you. We feel so special that you stopped by to send us birthday wishes, too!

      Wind farms are SUPER fun to learn about– can you believe that wind and energy are related?? Tomorrow will be a fun Friday– we hope to see you again so we can find out what the Wonder is!

      Have a Terrific Thursday! Thanks again! :)

    • Thanks so much for sharing your birthday wishes with us, Wonder Friend W! It’s so kind of you to say hello on our birthday! :)

  11. Happy Birthday Wonderopolis!! I love reading all of your WONDERS Of the Day in Language Arts class! We read them EVERY DAY. :D

    • That sounds like a great way to spend your time in Language Arts class, Gina M! We are so appreciative of your birthday hello, too! We hope you have a WONDERful rest of the day! :)

    • Thanks for your SUPER COOL comment, Kaley! We are so lucky to share our birthday with great Wonder Friends– just like YOU! :)

  12. Happy Birthday Wonderopolis!

    Happy birthday to you

    Happy birthday to you

    Happy birthday dear wonderopolis

    happy birthday to you!

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY WONDEROPOLIS!!!!!

    I love the wonders, keep up the good work!

    :):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):)

    Woohoo

    :)

    • WOW, are so honored to received your SUPER comment, Mareil! Thanks for showering us with birthday wishes– we LOVE WONDERing with you! :) :)

    • Thanks for sharing your comment, Panthers4!! In case you don’t get to see a wind farm in person, we are so glad that we’re WONDERing about it together right now! :)

  13. Dear Wonderopolis,

    We are wondering about Doug? Was he going to jump or walk across with a safe rope? We are from southwestern Ontario, Canada and there are a lot of wind farms around us!

    We think tomorrow’s wonder is going to be about koalas, kangaroos or gophers!

    Can’t wait ’til tomorrow!

    Mrs. Van O’s Gr. 3/4 Class

    • We’re so proud of our 3/4 grade Wonder Friends who are thinking about safety in Mrs. Van Oirschot’s class!! WAY TO GO! The special yellow ties that Doug was wearing was part of his safety equipment. Great observation, friends!

      We think you’re pretty lucky that you can see the wind farms up close — we have a lot of Wonder Friends that have said they hope to see a farm in person someday. How COOL for you!

      Thanks for sharing your SUPER guess about tomorrow’s Wonder– we’ll be here tomorrow to find out what it is! :)

    • Hi Lance, great job WONDERing today! There is a LOT of safety equipment involved in climbing up a turbine. We’re glad you’re here today, Lance! :)

  14. Happy Birthday Wonderopolis!
    Who invented the wind turbines?
    Who invented Wonderopolis?
    We love Wonderopolis!

    • WOW, so much WONDERing is going on in Miss Molle’s 5th grade class– our WONDER FRIENDS are hard at work! We are so proud of you!

      We bet you can do some WONDERing of your own to find out who created the first wind turbine– we’d love to hear about what you find! Wonderopolis is two years old today– can you believe it?! We are part of the National Center for Family Literacy– a SUPER organization that helps awesome students and their cool families to get together and enjoy the fun of learning, reading, and of course, WONDERING!

      We’re oh-so-glad you’re here, Wonder Friends! :)

  15. Happy Birthday Wonderopolis! Near my house there are a few windmills but I never got to see inside them. The video was very awesome. My mom says that they have been trying to put a big windfarm in the ocean by our town. They have been fighting over the wind farm for a lot of years. Some people don’t want it beacause it may not look good and may disturb the fishing. I think a windfarm in the ocean will create a lot of wind and energy.

    • Thank you for sending us birthday wishes, Patrick! We like your idea for putting a wind farm in the ocean– you’re right about the wind in that area! It sounds like you have learned a lot about wind farms and it’s very cool that you and your mom have been discussing wind farms in different areas, too! We are very proud of all the WONDERing you’ve been doing! :)

  16. I learned some new thing like…
    # 1 wind is a solar energy.
    # 2 3% of the United States’ electricity. Experts believe wind power will account for 20% of the nation’s electricity by 2030.
    # 3 Wind farms are built in areas known to be especially windy on a regular basis.
    Thanks wonderopolis for sharing this.

    • Way to go, Jules! We love that you learned so much about wind farms! Thanks for sharing your SUPER comment with us, Wonder Friend! :)

    • HOORAY, we’re so glad you checked out our windy Wonder, Luke and Eli! Thanks for sharing your comments- we are glad you explored wind mills today! :)

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Have you ever wondered…

  • What is a wind farm?
  • How do wind turbines work?
  • How much of our energy comes from wind power?

Wonder Gallery

wind farm shutterstock_56953921Vimeo Video

Try It Out

What sources of power will you see become popular in your lifetime? Solar power and wind power are already advancing year by year. But you could invent an entirely new technology that could someday power the world!

Use your imagination and take a fresh look at the world around you. What natural forces do you see at work? What forms of natural energy might you be able to harness and turn into a new, renewable source of energy?

What about gravity? Or the falling rain? Ocean waves? How about tides? The sky’s the limit, so let your imagination run wild. No idea is too far-fetched.

After you’ve brainstormed for a while, write a short story or draw a picture that shows how you might one day develop an entirely new form of renewable energy. Share your dream by posting your story or picture on Facebook for all your Wonder Friends to see. We can’t wait to learn about your vision of the future!

Still Wondering

Read National Geographic Education’s Wild Winds article to learn about a massive wind-power project that aims to take advantage of the consistently strong winds near Lake Turkana, Kenya, to bring electricity to the region.

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Wonder What’s Next?

Tomorrow’s Wonder of the Day takes an up-close look at an animal that lives down under!

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