“Produce up to 100% of its electricity using wind power? This is the challenge taken up by Uruguay, a small country of 3.3 million inhabitants which devotes 3% of its annual GDP to building its energy independence. "
Source: La Presse
Through the next activities, the students will discover this renewable energy produced by wind turbines and will better understand the choice made by Uruguay.
At the end of the activities, the student will be able to:
- Name different types of renewable energy;
- Find out the percentage of wind energy produced in our territory;
- Discover the Uruguay project which hopes to produce up to 100% of electricity using wind power;
- Locate Uruguay on a world map;
- Explain some extracts from the press article presenting the news;
- Discover the components of a wind turbine;
- Build a small, functional wind turbine.
ACTIVITY 1: Exploitation of wind energy
Begin the activity by asking students to name different types of renewable energy. Write their answers on the board and make sure it is renewable energy. Ask them to identify the main type of energy that is exploited in our territory. Do they think wind power is being used? What percentage can this energy production represent? To find out the percentage of wind energy used in Quebec, see the table on this page Economic Quebec.
Finally, tell the students that in some countries the percentage for the use of wind energy is close to 30%. Introduce them to the case of Uruguay by inviting them to read the following article from La Presse.
ACTIVITY 2: Understanding Uruguay's challenge
After reading the article suggested in Activity 1, students should think about the challenge Uruguay hopes to meet in 2015.
First, ask students to locate Uruguay on a world map. If you have an interactive digital whiteboard in your classroom, display a map of South America, or use Google maps in order to find out where Uruguay is located.
Then ask students to explain what the following excerpts mean:
• "achieve energy sovereignty"
• "Of all the energy that Uruguay consumes, nearly 50% already comes from renewable sources"
• "Its waterways are already exploited to their maximum"
• "a total installed electric power of 4 gigawatts"
Finally, ask students what they think of this challenge of producing 100% of electricity using wind power. Would such a program be possible elsewhere in the world? What about us?
ACTIVITY 3: Understanding how a wind turbine works
Now invite the students to discover the components of a wind turbine. To do this, ask the students to consult a few sites in the "Find out more" section.
To check their understanding, invite them to complete the following diagram:
Suggest that the students construct a small model of a wind turbine in class. Watch the following video which explains how to make a working wind turbine.
Making a wind turbine at home
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Wind power: a healthy way to generate energy
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