Question Sheet: Power of the Wind


Before reading:

  1. Name three sources of energy. 
  2. What does renewable mean? Give an example of a renewable resource.

During reading:

  1. How is wind power harnessed? 
  2. Summarize, in your own words, the history of wind power. See

    (Newton Public Schools, Massachusetts). 

  3. In the United States, where are the majority of wind farms located? Why? 
  4. Describe two advantages and two disadvantages of wind energy. See Darvill). 
  5. What is a turbine? What does a typical, modern wind turbine look like? See (Danish Wind Industry Association).

After reading:

  1. Would wind power work where you live? Why or why not? 
  2. Design a windmill or wind turbine that you think would work, but might be more attractive to residents in places such as Cape Cod. See Department of Energy). 
  3. Aside from wind, name two renewable sources of energy. Are these sources better than wind? Why or why not? 
  4. What do you think are the most effective strategies for persuading people to consider relying on wind power? What arguments would you use in favor of the idea? 
  5. What types of scientists or engineers would work on developing improved wind turbines? 
  6. If you were going to start a wind farm, where would you locate it? Why? What could you do to make sure that your neighbors wouldn’t complain about the wind

    farm’s presence? See (U.S. Department of Energy).


  1. Name a country in which wind power already plays an important role or in which wind power has a long history. Explain how this country came to rely on the wind. See (Danish Wind Industry Association), (National Wind Power,United

    Kingdom), (British Wind Energy Association), or (Energy Research Centre of the Netherlands).


  1. Right now, we rely on several sources of energy, both renewable and nonrenewable. Imagine a future in which there is no nonrenewable energy left.

    How would life be different? Write a short story describing some aspect of how someone might cope with life at such a future time. 

  2. Some people live “off the grid.” This means that they get their energy from their own sources and are not connected to any outside power lines. Come up with 10 questions that you would ask of someone who is living “off the grid” and doesn’t rely on nonrenewable energy. To find out more about alternative ways that these people might use to generate energy or how they might adopt different living styles, see (Argonne National Laboratory) or

    (Éléments Online Environmental Magazine).


The following table shows percentage contributed by different energy sources to total energy production in the United States in 2003.

Energy Source
Energy Production, 2003 (percent)

Create a pie chart showing the fraction of total U.S. energy production contributed by each type of energy source. For information on creating a pie chart, see (Shodor Education Foundation).

Given that total energy production was 70.5 quadrillion Btu, how much of this total came from renewable sources?