Wind Turbines


I do not know much about wind turbines but the first one I saw in the US was in Massachusetts. While I was on my green road trip this weekend I saw the giant windmill in the distance. I was in a rather wooded area not alot of other things around and there was the giant windmill rotating at a good pace. I really felt no wind and to me it did not seem possible that the turbine was moving but it was. I cannot imagine how it would whip around on a really windy day.

The first wind turbine I have ever saw was in Curacao a few years ago. That is a Caribbean island that is know for its trade winds so I cannot imagine how much energy is created by it. My personal opinion is that these large devices are not a giant eyesore but really a sign of what we need. People put windmills in their garden and kids buy them at the beach so they can watch it spin in the ocean breeze why not have it do more than enterain us. In the past windmills did a lot of work for us and we abandon that “technology” completely in the last few decades.

Below is the facts about wind turbines (really wind turbines 101) and a brief history of wind power… all from

A wind turbine is a rotating machine which converts the kinetic energy in wind into mechanical energy. If the mechanical energy is used directly by machinery, such as a pump or grinding stones, the machine is usually called a windmill. If the mechanical energy is then converted to electricity, the machine is called a wind generator, wind turbine, wind power unit (WPU) or wind energy converter (WEC).

This article discusses electric power generation machinery. Windmill discusses machines used for grain-grinding, water pumping, etc. The article on wind power describes turbine placement, economics and public concerns. The wind energy section of that article describes the distribution of wind energy over time, and how that affects wind-turbine design. See environmental concerns with electricity generation for discussion of environmental problems with wind-energy production.

Wind machines were used in Persia as early as 200 B.C. This type of machine was introduced into the Roman Empire by 250 A.D. However, the first practical windmills were built in Sistan, Afghanistan, from the 7th century. These were vertical axle windmills, which had long vertical driveshafts with rectangle shaped blades.[1] Made of six to twelve sails covered in reed matting or cloth material, these windmills were used to grind corn and draw up water, and were used in the gristmilling and sugarcane industries.[2]

By the 14th century, Dutch windmills were in use to drain areas of the Rhine River delta. In Denmarkby 1900 there were about 2500 windmills for mechanical loads such as pumps and mills, producing an estimated combined peak power of about 30 MW. The very first electricity generating windmill operated was a battery charging machine installed in 1887 by James Blyth in Scotland, UK. The first windmill for electricity production in the United States was built in Cleveland, Ohio by Charles F Brush in 1888, and in 1908 there were 72 wind-driven electric generators from 5 kW to 25 kW. The largest machines were on 24 m (79 ft) towers with four-bladed 23 m (75 ft) diameter rotors. Around the time of World War I, American windmill makers were producing 100,000 farm windmills each year, most for water-pumping.[3] By the 1930s windmills for electricity were common on farms, mostly in the United States where distribution systems had not yet been installed. In this period, high-tensile steel was cheap, and windmills were placed atop prefabricated open steel lattice towers.

A forerunner of modern horizontal-axis wind generators was in service at Yalta, USSRin 1931. This was a 100 kW generator on a 30 m (100 ft) tower, connected to the local 6.3 kV distribution system. It was reported to have an annual capacity factor of 32 per cent, not much different from current wind machines.[4]

The first utility grid-connected wind turbine operated in the UK was built by the John Brown Company in 1954 in the Orkney Islands. It had an 18 metre diameter, three-bladed rotor and a rated output of 100 kW.


4 thoughts on “Wind Turbines

  1. Jason-

    Excellent point. I am going to check out the website. I am working on writing a follow up post about it because it is so interesting. There are lots of limitations they need to be de-iced in cold wet weather and other maintance issues.

    Thanks for the post!


  2. There is no silver bullet to end oil dependency. rather many pieces of the puzzle – this and algae ethanol, solar etc. Many little pieces. But what awesome beasts these windmills are. I remember seeing my first one in Luxembourg and they just looked perfect.

  3. Yes, I think wind in conjunction with other emerging and viable alternative power options will be the wave of the future. Solar and wind are showing awesome possibilities and their technologies are improving everyday!

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