A wind turbine, or wind energy converter, is a device that converts the wind's kinetic energy into electrical energy. Wind turbines are manufactured in a wide range of sizes, with either horizontal or vertical axes. There are 650 Gigawatt in hundreds of thousands of large turbines, known as wind farms, with 60 GW added per year. They are becoming an increasingly important source of intermittent renewable energy and are used by many countries as part of a strategy to lower costs and reduce their reliance on fossil fuels. One assessment claimed that, as of 2009, wind had the "lowest relative greenhouse gas emissions, the least water consumption demands and... the most favourable social impacts" compared to photovoltaic, hydro, geothermal, coal and gas. The smallest turbines are used for applications such as battery charging for auxiliary power for boats or caravans or to power traffic warning signs. Larger turbines can be used for making contributions to a domestic power supply while selling unused power back to the utility supplier via the electrical grid.
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