The Double Circle Ranch relies primarily on solar energy for our electricity and to pump water to our pastures, but we do have several wind turbines in place as well. A wind energy system transforms the kinetic energy of the wind (read on—we’ll explain it!) into mechanical or electrical energy that can be harnessed for practical use. Our windmills use mechanical energy to pump water in remote locations, keeping our water tanks full and our steers happy.
Wind energy 101
Wind energy is actually a converted form of solar energy. The sun’s radiation heats different parts of the earth at different rates—most notably during the day and night, but also when different surfaces (for example, water and land) absorb or reflect at different rates. This in turn causes portions of the atmosphere to warm differently. Hot air rises, reducing the atmospheric pressure at the earth’s surface, and cooler air is drawn in to replace it. The result is wind. Air has mass, and when it is in motion, it contains the energy of that motion, known as “kinetic energy.” Some portion of that kinetic energy can be converted into other forms of mechanical force or electricity that we can then use to perform work.
(From the AWEA’s “Wind Energy Basics” page)