Curious Kid Podcast

Curious About Windmills

November 01, 2020 Olivia Season 5 Episode 109
Curious Kid Podcast
Curious About Windmills
Chapters
Curious Kid Podcast
Curious About Windmills
Nov 01, 2020 Season 5 Episode 109
Olivia

In episode 109, we get curious about windmills thanks to a fantastic suggestion by Mason of Palm Springs, California.  What are windmills?  Why are they so tall?  How do they work?  What are the advantages and disadvantages of getting energy from windmills?  Learn all of that and so much more by getting curious with us. 

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Show Notes Transcript

In episode 109, we get curious about windmills thanks to a fantastic suggestion by Mason of Palm Springs, California.  What are windmills?  Why are they so tall?  How do they work?  What are the advantages and disadvantages of getting energy from windmills?  Learn all of that and so much more by getting curious with us. 

Send Us An E-mail - [email protected]
Leave Us A Voicemail - 856-425-2324
Support Us On Patreon - https://www.patreon.com/Curiouskidpodcast
Shop Curious Kid Podcast Merchandise - http://tee.pub/lic/fqXchg3wUVU
Follow Us On Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/curiouskidpod/
Follow Us On Instagram - https://www.instagram.com/curiouskidpodcast/
Follow Us On Twitter - https://twitter.com/CuriousKidPod

No Kid Hungry - https://www.nokidhungry.org


PODCAST 109: CURIOUS ABOUT WINDMILLS

RELEASE DATE:  NOVEMBER 1ST, 2020


CURIOUS KID PODCAST THEME MUSIC


D:  HELLO, AND WELCOME BACK TO THE CURIOUS KID PODCAST.  


O:  HAPPY NOVEMBER, EVERYBODY!


D:  THIS EPISODE IS GOING LIVE ON NOVEMBER 1ST.  AS WE’VE DONE EACH YEAR IN NOVEMBER, CURIOUS KID PODCAST HAS SELECTED A CHARITY TO SUPPORT.  TWO YEARS AGO, WE RAISED MONEY FOR ST. JUDE CHILDREN’S HOSPITAL AND LAST YEAR WE RAISED MONEY FOR ALEX’S LEMONADE STAND FOUNDATION.  WE’VE ALSO RAISED MONEY FOR DIFFERENT CHARITIES WHEN THEY NEEDED HELP URGENTLY, AS WE DID WITH THE AUSTRALIAN RED CROSS WHEN THEY WERE BATTLING WILDFIRES LAST YEAR AND WITH SAVETHECHILDREN.ORG WHEN THE PANDEMIC WAS SPREADING THIS PAST SPRING.  STAY TUNED FOR MORE INFORMATION ON THIS YEAR’S CHARITY AT THE END OF THIS EPISODE.  UNTIL THEN, LET’S GET CURIOUS.


O:  MAILBAG!


D:  MAILBAG!


“MY SON MASON, AGE 7, AND I LISTEN TO YOUR PODCAST EVERY MORNING AND ABSOLUTELY LOVE IT!  WE LIVE IN PALM SPRINGS, CALIFORNIA AND ALWAYS DRIVE PAST LOTS OF WINDMILLS.  MASON IS ALWAYS ASKING QUESTIONS ABOUT HOW THEY WORK AND THEIR PURPOSE.  IF YOU WERE TO DO AN EPISODE ABOUT WINDMILLS, HE WOULD BE THRILLED!  KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK!”


O:  THANK YOU, MASON, FOR LETTING US KNOW WHAT YOU ARE CURIOUS ABOUT.  WE ARE GOING TO LEARN ABOUT WINDMILLS THIS WEEK FOR YOU.


D:  AND IT’S GOING TO BE SO MUCH FUN.  MASON’S MOMMY GAVE US HIS LISTENER SUGGESTION IN A FACEBOOK MESSAGE TO OUR FACEBOOK PAGE.  THERE ARE SO MANY WAYS TO LET US KNOW WHAT YOU ARE CURIOUS ABOUT.  YOU CAN ALWAYS E-MAIL US AT [email protected], OR YOU CAN DROP US A LINE ON FACEBOOK, INSTAGRAM, OR TWITTER.  YOU CAN ALSO LEAVE US A VOICEMAIL AT 856-425-2324.  IF YOU LEAVE US A VOICEMAIL, WE WILL PLAY YOUR VOICEMAIL IN THE EPISODE WHEN WE GET CURIOUS ABOUT YOUR TOPIC.  HOW COOL IS THAT?  OKAY OLIVIA, WHAT’S THE QUESTION OF THE WEEK?


O:  THE QUESTION OF THE WEEK IS, WHICH STATE HAS THE MOST WIND CAPACITY?


D:  OKAY, AS WE ARE ABOUT TO LEARN, THE PURPOSE OF WINDMILLS, ALSO CALLED WIND TURBINES, IS TO MAKE ELECTRICITY.  WE ARE GOING TO LEARN HOW THEY WORK AND WHY THEY ARE BETTER OR WORSE THAN OTHER SOURCES OF ENERGY IN JUST A MINUTE.  FOR THE QUESTION OF THE WEEK, WE ARE ASKING WHICH STATE IN THE UNITED STATES HAS THE MOST WIND CAPACITY, SO THEY HAVE THE HIGHEST POTENTIAL OF CHANGING WIND INTO ELECTRICITY BECAUSE THEY HAVE SO MANY WINDMILLS.  IN FACT, THEY HAVE MORE WIND CAPACITY THAN THE NEXT 3 STATES ON THE LIST COMBINED, WITH 28,843 MEGAWATTS.  LET’S DESCRIBE WHAT A WINDMILL LOOKS LIKE FOR SOMEONE WHO’S NEVER SEEN ONE BEFORE.               


O:  WINDMILLS LOOK LIKE GIGANTIC FANS WITH THE BLADES SPINNING ROUND AND ROUND.


D:  AND THEY HAVE BEEN AROUND FOR A LONG TIME.  WINDMILLS HAVE NOT ALWAYS BEEN AS SOPHISTICATED AS THEY ARE TODAY.  SOME OF THE SIMPLER WINDMILLS HAVE DIFFERENT PURPOSES.    


O:  POST MILLS ARE USED TO GRIND STONE AND DRAIN MILLS ARE USED TO PUMP WATER.    


D:  THERE IS ALSO A WINDMILL CALLED A GRAIN WINDMILL, WHICH IS USED TO GRIND GRAIN INTO FLOUR.  


O:  ALL WINDMILLS HAVE SOMETHING IN COMMON.  THEY TURN WIND INTO ENERGY.


D:  AND THEN THAT ENERGY CAN BE USED TO DO A VARIETY OF THINGS.  THE MODERN WINDMILL, ALSO CALLED A WIND TURBINE, IS USED TO CREATE ELECTRICITY.  MANY OF THE MODERN DAY WINDMILLS ARE CAPABLE OF PROVIDING HUNDREDS OF HOMES WITH ELECTRICITY.  WE ARE GOING TO DISCUSS WIND TURBINES TODAY.  WIND TURBINES ARE PROBABLY THE TYPE OF WINDMILL MASON SEES WHEN HE’S IN THE CAR RIDING AROUND CALIFORNIA.  IN FACT, THE LARGEST WIND FARM IN THE UNITED STATES IS THE ALTA WIND ENERGY CENTER IN CALIFORNIA, WHICH IS NOT FAR FROM WHERE MASON LIVES.  


O:  A WIND FARM IS A GROUP OF WIND TURBINES IN THE SAME LOCATION.  


D:  THE FIRST WIND FARM IN THE WORLD WAS IN NEW HAMPSHIRE, AND IT WAS BUILT IN 1980.  IT HAD 20 WIND TURBINES.  TODAY, THE LARGEST WIND FARM IN THE WORLD IS THE GANSU WIND FARM IN CHINA.  THERE ARE THOUSANDS OF WIND TURBINES IN THAT WIND FARM.  


O:  WIND FARMS CAN EVEN BE OFFSHORE IN THE WATER.  


D:  THE LARGEST OFFSHORE WIND FARM IS THE HORNSEA WIND FARM AND IT BELONGS TO ENGLAND.  IT IS LOCATED IN THE NORTH SEA AND HAS 174 WIND TURBINES.  7 OF THE 10 LARGEST OFFSHORE WIND FARMS BELONG TO THE UNITED KINGDOM.  OKAY, IF YOU LOOK AT A WIND TURBINE, THERE ARE 2 THINGS YOU WILL NOTICE RIGHT AWAY.


O:  FIRST, THEY ARE VERY, VERY TALL.  WIND TURBINES CAN BE AS TALL AS SKYSCRAPERS. 


D: THEY ARE TALL BECAUSE IT’S WINDIER HUNDREDS OF FEET IN THE AIR THAN IT IS AT GROUND LEVEL.  THERE IS ANOTHER POSITIVE ABOUT BEING SO TALL.  THEY DON’T HAVE TO WORRY ABOUT WIND BEING BLOCKED BY THINGS LIKE MOUNTAINS OR BUILDINGS.  THE AVERAGE WIND TURBINE TOWER IS 290 FEET TALL, WHICH IS ABOUT THE SAME HEIGHT AS THE STATUE OF LIBERTY.  WHAT ELSE DO WE NOTICE ABOUT WIND TURBINES?


O:  THE BLADES ON A WIND TURBINE ARE SUPER LONG.


D:  SO, YOU MIGHT REMEMBER THAT WIND TURBINES LOOK LIKE MASSIVE FANS.  WELL, THOSE BLADES THAT SPIN ROUND AND ROUND ARE VERY LONG.  WIND TURBINES HAVE BLADES THAT AVERAGE 184 FEET LONG.  THE LARGEST TURBINE TODAY IS CALLED THE MHI VESTAS V164-9.5 MW.  THIS TURBINE HAS BLADES THAT ARE 262 FEET LONG AND THE TURBINE WEIGHS ABOUT 73,000 POUNDS.  THE REASON THE BLADES ARE SO LONG ON TURBINES IS BECAUSE LONGER BLADES ARE CAPABLE OF CAPTURING MORE WIND, AND MORE WIND MEANS MORE ELECTRICITY CAN BE CREATED BY THE TURBINE.  NOW THAT WE KNOW WHY THEY ARE SO TALL AND WHY THEY HAVE SUCH LONG BLADES, LET’S LEARN HOW THEY WORK.  


O:  THE BLADES ON A WIND TURBINE HAVE A SPECIAL SHAPE JUST LIKE THE WINGS OF AN AIRPLANE.  


D:  IF YOU LISTENED TO EPISODE 17 OF THE PODCAST, CURIOUS ABOUT AIRPLANES… YOU SHOULD CHECK IT OUR BECAUSE OLIVIA INTERVIEWS A NAVY PILOT IN THAT EPISODE… WE DISCUSSED THE WINGS OF AN AIRPLANE AND HOW THEY ARE DESIGNED TO CREATE LIFT. 


O:  LIFT IS THE NAME OF THE FORCE THAT LIFTS THINGS UP, AND IT’S HOW AIRPLANES ARE ABLE TO FLY. 


D:  EACH BLADE OF A WIND TURBINE HAS THE SAME SHAPE AS AN AIRPLANE WING, WHICH IS CURVED ON ONE SIDE AND FLAT ON THE OTHER.  WHEN THE WIND TURBINE IS FACING THE WIND, THE WIND LIFTS THE BLADES OF THE WIND TURBINE SO THAT THEY SPIN ROUND AND ROUND.  LET ME EXPLAIN HOW THIS WORKS.  WINS FLOWS QUICKER ALONG THE CURVED SIDE OF THE BLADE, WHICH CREATES A PRESSURE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE SIDES OF THE BLADES.  THE WIND PUSHES THE BLADES IN AN EFFORT TO EQUALIZE THE PRESSURE ON BOTH SIDES OF THE BLADE, WHICH MAKES THE BLADES TURN.  AGAIN, IN ORDER FOR THIS TO WORK, WIND HAS TO BE BLOWING INTO THE FACE OF THE WIND TURBINE.


O:  HOW IS THAT POSSIBLE, BECAUSE WIND DIRECTION CHANGES ALL THE TIME?


D:  THAT’S A GREAT QUESTION.  A WIND TURBINE HAS A TOWER, WHICH IS THE VERTICAL STRUCTURE THAT CONNECTS THE WIND TURBINE TO THE GROUND.  AT THE VERY TOP OF THE TOWER IS SOMETHING CALLED A NACELLE.  ON THE FRONT OF THE NACELLE IS THE ROTOR, WHICH IS THE SPOT IN FRONT OF WHERE THE BLADES MEET.


O:  THE NACELLE IS ABLE TO ROTATE SO THAT THE BLADES ARE ALWAYS FACING THE WIND.  


D:  YOU GOT IT.  SO, THE TOWER NEVER MOVES.  IT JUST STAYS IN PLACE.  BUT THE NACELLE AT THE VERY TOP THAT HAS THE BLADES ATTACHED TO IT IS ABLE TO ROTATE TO MAKE SURE THAT THE BLADES ARE ALWAYS FACING THE WIND SO THAT THE MOST ENERGY CAN BE CREATED.


O:  WHAT IF IT GETS REALLY REALLY WINDY?  CAN THAT BE DANGEROUS?


D:  IN THE EVENT OF SUPER STRONG WINDS, THERE IS ACTUALLY A BRAKE IN THE NACELLE THAT CAN SLOW THE ROTATION OF THE BLADES, IF NECESSARY.


O:  THE NACELLE ALSO HAS GEARS THAT HELP INCREASE THE SPEED OF THE BLADES, IF NECESSARY.


D:  FINALLY, IN THE BACK OF THE NACELLE, THERE IS A GENERATOR, WHICH IS THE PART THAT HELPS CONVERT THE ENERGY PICKED UP FROM THE WIND INTO ELECTRICAL ENERGY.  LET’S LEARN SOME OF THE POSITIVES AND NEGATIVES WITH WIND TURBINES USED TO CREATE ENERGY.


O:  THEY ARE GOOD BECAUSE THEY ARE A CLEAN SOURCE OF ENERGY AND THEY DON’T POLLUTE THE AIR OR WATER.


D:  UNLIKE OTHER, DIRTIER, ENERGY SOURCES, WIND TURBINES ARE ALSO RENEWABLE AND SUSTAINABLE, MEANING THAT WE WILL NEVER RUN OUT OF WIND, WHEREAS SOME OF THE OTHER ENERGY SOURCES, LIKE COAL, ARE LIMITED AND WILL EVENTUALLY RUN OUT.  WIND TURBINES ARE ALSO NOT EXPENSIVE TO OPERATE ONCE THEY ARE BUILT.  WHAT ARE SOME OF THE NEGATIVES?


O:  THEY ARE EXPENSIVE TO BUILD, SO YOU HAVE TO SPEND A LOT BEFORE THE WIND TURBINE CAN MAKE ENERGY.


D:  SOME OF THE OTHER BIGGEST COMPLAINTS ABOUT WIND TURBINES IS THAT THEY DON’T PROVIDE A CONSTANT SOURCE OF POWER BECAUSE WIND SPEEDS CHANGE, THEY THEY MAY BE HARMFUL TO BATS AND BIRDS, AND THAT THEY COULD BE NOISY IF YOU LIVE NEARBY.  


O:  OVERALL, WIND TURBINES ARE A GREAT WAY TO MAKE ENERGY THAT IS NOT VERY EXPENSIVE AND IS GOOD FOR OUR ENVIRONMENT.


D:  AND THEY ARE EFFICIENT.  WIND TURBINES IN THE UNITED STATES PROVIDE ENOUGH ELECTRICITY TO POWER 25 MILLION HOMES NATIONWIDE, BUT THERE IS ONE STATE THAT DEFINITELY LEADS THE WAY WHEN IT COMES TO WIND TURBINE USE.  OLIVIA, WHICH STATE HAS THE HIGHEST WIND CAPACITY IN THE UNITED STATES?


O:  TEXAS HAS THE HIGHEST WIND CAPACITY.  ALMOST 30,000 MEGAWATTS.


D:  NEXT ON THE LIST ARE IOWA, OKLAHOMA, AND KANSAS, BUT THOSE 3 STATES HAVE LESS COMBINED WIND CAPACITY THAN TEXAS ALONE.  WAY TO GO, TEXAS.  WELL, THAT’S A WRAP FOR THIS WEEK’S EPISODE.


O:  109 - WINDMILLS.


D:  GREAT JOB, OLIVIA, AND GREAT JOB, MASON FOR THE FANTASTIC SUGGESTION.  THIS YEAR, CURIOUS KID PODCAST HAS PICKED ANOTHER CHARITY TO DONATE TO THAT COULD REALLY USE OUR HELP.  THE NAME OF THE CHARITY IS NO KID HUNGRY.  I THINK WE CAN ALL AGREE THAT NO KID IN AMERICA, OR ANYWHERE ELSE, SHOULD GO HUNGRY.  WELL, NO KID HUNGRY HAS BEEN HELPING TO FEED HUNGRY KIDS SINCE 2010.  THIS CHARITY MEANS SO MUCH TO US, WE WANT TO GIVE YOU SEVERAL WAYS TO HELP US RAISE MONEY FOR THEM.  YOU CAN CLICK ON THE LINK IN THE EPISODE NOTES FOR THIS EPISODE TO DONATE DIRECTLY TO THEM.  YOU COULD ALSO DONATE TO NO KID HUNGRY THROUGH THE CURIOUS KID PODCAST FACEBOOK PAGE.  WE ARE ALSO GOING TO DONATE $1 TO NO KID HUNGRY FOR EVERY SINGLE ITUNES OR APPLE PODCASTS REVIEW WE GET DURING THE ENTIRE MONTH OF NOVEMBER.  WE ARE ALSO GOING TO DONATE $1 FOR EVERY SUPPORTER WE HAVE ON PATREON AT THE END OF THE MONTH, NEW OR EXISTING.  AS A SUPPORTER, YOU GET SO MUCH EXTRA ACCESS TO CURIOUS KID PODCAST AND YOU WILL HAVE ACCESS TO THE PATRON-ONLY CURRENT EVENTS EPISODES WE ARE GOING TO START AT THE BEGINNING OF 2021.  SO, IF YOU BECOME A SUPPORTER OF THE PODCAST THIS MONTH, YOU WILL GET ALL THOSE FUN PERKS WE OFFER PLUS WE WILL DONATE $1 TO NO KID HUNGRY FOR YOUR SUPPORT.  MORE DETAILS ON OUR PATREON PAGE CAN ALSO BE FOUND BY CLICKING ON THE LINK IN OUR EPISODE NOTES.  ONE MORE REMINDER THAT ELECTION DAY IS ON TUESDAY, SO GET OUT AND VOTE AND MAKE SURE YOU ENCOURAGE YOUR GROWN UPS TO VOTE TOO.  GET READY FOR ELECTION DAY BY LISTENING TO OUR PRESIDENTIAL MINI-EPISODES ON ALL THE PRESIDENTS.  JOIN US NEXT WEEK, WHEN WE GET CURIOUS ABOUT SNOW FOR LISTENERS IN ILLINOIS AND NEW MEXICO.  AS ALWAYS, THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR LISTENING AND GETTING CURIOUS WITH US.