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INTRODUCTION The world has never been short of wind For thousands of years it has turned windmills flown kites cooled houses and filled sails Now technological advances are breathing new life into our use of wind power as a clean renewable cost-effective means of generating electricity HISTORY OF WIND ENERGY TO DATE Over the last few decades wind power has rarely been used as means of generating electricity In 1996 the worldwide capacity of wind turbines was approximately 6 gigawatts contributing less than 1 percent to the total global electrical generation capacity However the wind energy industry is continually growing at a rapid rate Much of the growth is in European countries such as Holland Denmark the United Kingdom and Germany Denmark for example currently obtains about 5 percent of its electricity from wind turbines and aims to increase this to 40 percent by 2030 Interest in wind power is also rapidly growing in countries such as India and China while Australia is also beginning to pay increasing attention to the concept Renewable energy such as wind energy currently provides about 105 percent of Australias electricity generation Still Australia has plans for further supply from renewable energy sources but this depends upon legislation which will commit electricity suppliers to use an additional 2 percent of their electricity from renewable energy sources by 2010 Clearly interest in wind energy has grown significantly in the past few years WHY THE RECENT INTEREST There are probably two main reasons for the increasing interest in wind power First most electricity generated today uses non-renewable fuels such as coal oil and gas These contribute vast quantities of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere which cause an enhanced greenhouse effect leading to a warming of the Earths atmosphere Also since wind is a renewable resource it can not run out so eliminating the possibility of the electrical industry being forced to discover and utilize
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