Harnessing the power of the wind was first accomplished long ago. In Persia in 600 BC, wind was used to lift water. Later, ships were powered by the wind and windmills were used throughout Europe.
In the 1890s,
wind was used to create electricity. Farms used windmills for obtaining water from wells deep in the ground. However, as supplies of gas and oil became abundant and cheap, people switched to using those resources for their power needs.Interest in wind came about because, like solar, it is a very clean form of energy. The oil shocks of the 1970s furthered interest in wind and other alternative energy sources. However, wind research also suffered a major setback in the early 1980s.
Despite research and development cuts, there is considerable wind research and usage today. From 1973-1983, over 10,000 wind machines were constructed throughout the world.
Countries such as Denmark, Sweden, the US, and many other industrialized nations have deployed wind technology. In total, 95 countries are now using windmills. Often, power is gained through wind farms -- large groups of wind turbines.
China and India are also working to develop and use wind equipment to gain energy. In India, the Ministry of Energy hopes to use energy from wind power for five million people by the year 2000.
A few people have objected to wind energy. Some say the wind farms are too noisy and cause traffic congestion nearby. Others complain that windmills kill birds.
Guided tour to wind energy
Investigating wind energy
US DOE wind energy program