Australia is blown away by windpower.
The biggest wind farm in the southern hemisphere will be built in south west Victoria this year, by the biggest wind energy company in the world, Vestas.
And a new product call the Eco Whisper Turbine has recently been launched by an Australian company, Renewable Energy Solutions Australia (RESA). It is touted as the world's quietest wind turbine, (near silent), which could take the wind out of the sails of those who object to wind farms because of noise.
It could also open up opportunities to have wind turbines in more urban settings such as industrial areas, car parks and airports.
The design was first developed in 1946, but RESA has now perfected the design.
How do you think they did that?
Wind turbines usually have two or three blades on top of a tall tower. As the wind spins the blade, the energy of the movement is transferred inside a generator to make electricity.
The wind alternative
These wind turbines can be enormous!
Have a look at this time-lapse sequence of a wind turbine being constructed.
And this video of a wind farm construction off the coast of England.
Renewable and clean
For more facts about wind turbines have a look at these sites.
The energy produced by wind farms is renewable, because there is always wind available. It is attractive because it doesn't create any greenhouse gas emissions during its operation.
So far, wind supplies only a small amount of the energy consumed in Australia, but that will change if we follow the global trend. Wind farming globally is expected to almost triple by 2017. It is very popular in China and in the USA.
Designs for efficiency
The latest design from Japan is said to triple the energy output of traditional wind turbines, which could make wind a very attractive alternative. Japan is reviewing its energy sources in the wake of the Fukushima nuclear power plant disaster last year.
Australia's a fan
Wind turbines are used around the world, both on land and offshore, to capture the energy in the wind and convert it to electricity.
There are already 50 wind farms around Australia, especially in South Australia, which means we have around 1000 turbines.
Wind energy is currently the cheapest renewable source of energy in Australia according to the Clean Energy Council.
Not everyone approves
Some people think wind farms are ugly and noisy. There is lots of discussion about a program in England, which hopes to add another 200 wind turbines to the existing 100 turbines in one region.
While stories like these appear in the news, a CSIRO study found there is strong community support for rural wind farms. One of the authors suggests that very vocal opponents create the impression that there is more opposition than there really is.
What do you think?
Wind farms can also be quite beautiful. Check out these 20 stunning images of wind turbines at sunset, like the one here.
It's always possible to improve. A UK company has developed a new smaller, quieter design which picks up wind blowing from any side - it could be perfect for an urban setting!
The first urban wind farm in the UK will be built in April 2012, featuring 20 turbines, using this new design.
Feel the wind in your hair...
Take a look at this fact sheet to see how a wind turbine works
Try this instruction kit, if you'd like to make a model wind turbine.
Where the wind blows in Australia
Places where average wind speeds are higher, produce more energy. Visit here to see a bigger map of Australia that shows where the windy places are.
Here's a way to use wind to create a beautiful and self sufficient design.
Lights that harness the little gusts of wind that blow around cities... putting that energy to use.
You can read more about this design here.
We asked Australian students to make a video or convince us in writing about their BIG ideas for a sustainable energy future.
Check out the fantastic videos we received, all about sustainable energy solutions!VIEW THE GALLERY OF ENTRIES
Explore the fascinating science edging us closer to low carbon living. This fun, flexible project includes easy-to-use ICT, oodles of resources and FREE lesson plans from CSIRO Education.
Links to Australian curriculum, plus NAPLAN rehearsal.Find out more