How did the people use the energy of wind in the past?
Since early recorded history people have harnessed the energy of the wind. Wind energy propelled boats along the river Nile as early as 5000 B.C. BY 200 B.S. Simple windmills in China were pumping water, while vertical-axis windmills with woven reed sails were grinding grain in Persia and the middle east. The Dutch refined the windmills and adapted it for drained lakes and marshes in the Rhine river delta. When settlers took this technology to the new world in the late 19th century, they began using windmills to pump water for farms and ranches and later to generate electricity for homes and industry. Abraham Lincoln – (Lincoln, 1858-1859) said:
Of all the forces of nature, I should think the wind contains the largest amount of motive power – that is, power to move things. Take any given space of the earth’s surface – for instance, Illinois; and all the power exerted by all the men and beasts and running water and steam over and upon it, shall not equal the one-hundredth part of what is exerted by the blowing of the wind over and upon the same space.
Abraham Lincoln and his advisors knew of the power of the wind and the possibilities to harness this freely available power even as far back as the end of the 1850’s as the understanding of technology began to advance. Wind power found new applications in lighting buildings remotely from centrally generated power. During world war two the largest wind turbine known in the 1940s a 1.25-megawatt turbine fed electric power to the utility network. Wind electric turbines persisted in Denmark into the 1950s but were sidelined due to the availability of cheap oil and low energy prices. The oil shortages of the 1970s changed the energy prices for the us and the world it created an interest in alternative energy sources powering the way for the re-entry of the wind turbine to produce energy.