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Wind turbines are one of the fastest-growing clean energy sources, and the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry is nurturing a new generation of young engineers to explore the science behind them.

This Saturday, April 19, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., OMSI is hosting a KidWind Challenge in its auditorium.

KidWind, which began in California as a nonprofit in 2002, is now an international organization that has run more than 250 free workshops for teachers, built more than 50,000 experimental wind turbines and impacted more than 500,000 students.

The program has hosted more than 30 KidWind Challenges, which include wind turbine design competitions with prizes. They also educate students and teachers on wind farms.

A one-megawatt wind turbine can produce 4 million kWh in a year — enough to power 400 average households.

Wind power is the second cleanest form of energy, next to solar power. Wind power has one of the lowest impacts on the environment.

One of wind power’s effects is spinning blades during the nights to stir up cool air that would otherwise settle to a lower layer near land. In this way, the turning of the blades contributes to heating the air. They also catch and kill birds who fly too close, and the loud sounds of offshore wind farms drive away marine life.

However, wind energy systems do not cause air or water emissions or hazardous waste, common effects of other energy sources. Wind power does not use natural resources (coal, gas or oil) or require extraction or transport that can damage the environment.

Today, wind power supplies 1 percent of energy in the U.S. Coal supplies 52 percent, nuclear power supplies 20 percent, natural gas supplies 16 percent, hydropower supplies 7 percent, and oil supplies 3 percent.

Julia Rogers can be reached at 503-546-5137 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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