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Since the blades of a wind turbine are rotating, they must have kinetic energy, which they "steal" from the wind.Now it's a basic law of physics (known as the conservation of energy) that you can't make energy out of nothing, so the wind must actually slow down slightly when it passes around a wind turbine.
This is not a drawback, however, but a deliberate feature of their design that allows them to work very efficiently in ever-changing winds. Cars don't drive around at top speed all the time: a car's engine and gearbox power the wheels as quickly or slowly as we need to go according to the speed of the traffic.Wind turbines are analogous: like cars, they're designed to work efficiently at a range of different speeds.A typical wind turbine nacelle is 85 meters (280 feet) off the ground—that's like 50 tall adults standing on one another's shoulders! If you've ever stood on a hill that's the tallest point for miles around, you'll know that wind travels much faster when it's clear of the buildings, trees, hills, and other obstructions at ground level.Photo: This unusual Darrieus "egg-beater" wind turbine rotates about a vertical axis, unlike a normal turbine with a horizontal rotor.Its main advantage is that it can be mounted nearer to the ground, without a tower, which makes it cheaper construct.Obviously, faster winds help too: if the wind blows twice as quickly, there's potentially eight times more energy available for a turbine to harvest.That's because the energy in wind is proportional to the cube of its speed.That's not really a problem, because there's usually plenty more wind following on behind!It is a problem if you want to build a wind farm: unless you're in a really windy place, you have to make sure each turbine is a good distance from the ones around it so it's not affected by them.Wind varies all the time so the electricity produced by a single wind turbine varies as well.Linking many wind turbines together into a large farm, and linking many wind farms in different areas into a national power grid, produces a much more steady supply overall.