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Wind Energy Basics

National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) Education

Video introduces wind energy research at the National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL) and provides an overview of the NREL Wind Technology Center near Boulder, Colorado.

Learn more about Teaching Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness»

ngssSee how this Video supports the Next Generation Science Standards»
High School: 6 Disciplinary Core Ideas

Notes From Our Reviewers The CLEAN collection is hand-picked and rigorously reviewed for scientific accuracy and classroom effectiveness. Read what our review team had to say about this resource below or learn more about how CLEAN reviews teaching materials
Teaching Tips | Science | Pedagogy | Technical Details

Teaching Tips

  • A professionally-produced overview of wind energy and related research at the NREL National Wind Technology Center near Boulder, Colorado.
  • Link for video includes a printable transcript of the video for students to follow.
  • Students could create a flow chart that illustrates how wind energy is converted into useable energy.
  • Suggested that teachers discuss local and regional wind patterns, why wind generators are located where they are.

About the Science

  • Presents the science, technological challenges, and the social and funding issues involved with developing wind technology.
  • Includes some basics on wind energy, wind dynamics, and how wind turbines work.
  • Comments from expert scientist: This material provides the basics of wind energy in an accessible fashion. Links are provided to find more detailed scientific information including wind resource maps and the US Energy Information Administration (EIA) statistics on wind production. My main concern is that this discussion is limited and slightly out-of-date. The text presents a height for wind turbines (100 feet or 30m above the surface) that is much lower than modern multi-MW wind turbines. The material is technically correct but gives the impression that turbines are shorter than they actually are. Modern turbines have hub heights of 80-100 m.

About the Pedagogy

  • Thorough and concise presentation of wind energy technology development.

Technical Details/Ease of Use

  • Video produced and developed by the National Wind Technology Center in Boulder, Colorado, which is one of only four national renewable energy laboratories in the world.
  • Link to information about distributed energy on U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability is not accessible.

Next Generation Science Standards See how this Video supports:

High School

Disciplinary Core Ideas: 6

HS-ESS3.A1:Resource availability has guided the development of human society.

HS-ESS3.A2:All forms of energy production and other resource extraction have associated economic, social, environmental, and geopolitical costs and risks as well as benefits. New technologies and social regulations can change the balance of these factors.

HS-PS3.B1:Conservation of energy means that the total change of energy in any system is always equal to the total energy transferred into or out of the system.

HS-PS3.B2:Energy cannot be created or destroyed, but it can be transported from one place to another and transferred between systems

HS-PS3.B4:The availability of energy limits what can occur in any system.

HS-PS3.D1:Although energy cannot be destroyed, it can be converted to less useful forms—for example, to thermal energy in the surrounding environment.

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