#ExplainingEnergy: Blowin' in the wind

In the latest instalment of our #ExplainingEnergy series we asked Steve Hodger, Greater Gabbard Site Manager, to go into a little detail on what makes our offshore wind farm turn.

Some of us at SSE work with it every day. Others spend part of their day talking about it in some shape or form, at work or at home, but do we really know what wind is? 

Wind is air in motion. It is produced by the uneven heating of the earth’s surface by the sun. Since the earth’s surface is made of various land and water formations, it absorbs the sun’s radiation unevenly. 

So what causes it to blow? As the sun warms the earth’s surface, the atmosphere warms too. Some parts receive direct rays from the sun, all year and are always warm. Other places receive indirect rays so the climate is cooler. 

Warm air, which weighs less than cold air, rises. The cool air moves in and replaces the rising warm air. This movement of air is what makes the wind blow. 

When you are next down on the beach on a sunny day, and you hear somebody say, ‘what a lovely sea breeze’, you could reply that it’s caused by the differential heating of land and sea. Air above the land is heated by the sun, causing it to rise. The rising air is replaced by cooler air coming from above the sea. This causes a sea breeze. Or you could just keep that to yourself! 

How many things do you discuss or do every day at work that you don’t really know what it means or does? It’s something we all do at SSE all the time as we have the pleasure of working in the fascinating world of energy.