Wind Energy 101- History of Wind Energy Era By Era!!

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history of wind energy

Want to know how wind energy came in? Frustrated with opening many tabs for the collecting Information about the history of wind energy?

No worries! Get a brief and organized historical timeline on the Wind energy era by era.

In this write up you can easily access to explore wind energy history timeline, along with its advantages, uses, impact, obstacle, and more cool facts and data about wind energy.

Here, also you can quickly get an ultimate overview of wind energy.

Let’s stay with us!!

history-of-wind-energy

The renewable industry is now growing faster than you can imagine. This alternative sustainable energy now becomes an absolute necessity for energy security.
Because at the present conserve of traditional sources of energy like coal, oil, gasoline is depleting an insignificant rate.

These conventional sources of energy are non-renewable; that means we cannot renew it in a short duration for our use. Whereas renewable energy sources like solar, wind, tidal, biomass,geothermal, etc. are plenty in nature, and those are renewable, eco-friendly, and sustainable by characteristics.

For ensuring energy for the next generation and combat with global warming or climate change, these renewable sources may be the optimum choice for us.Thus many country now aiming to achieve 100% electricity from renewable sources.

The wind is a popular source of energy. It is clean, free, readily available and renewable. Everyday wind turbines are harnessing the energy of wind and converting it to electricity. Wind power generation is playing a vital role in developing the world as we know today, in a clean and sustainable way. Wind power has been a growing source of electricity from the past few decades.

Wind energy is eco-friendly, sustainable and clean. It does not exhaust any carbon-di-oxide and green-house gases like the other sources of energy. It creates much less pollution than other means. The Best thing about wind energy is that it does not generate any waste or byproduct.

#But how does wind create electricity?

Harnessing the energy from wind its a little bit complex. Wind turbines allow us to generate energy. When the wind blows, the blades of the turbine rotate clockwise to capture energy. This makes the main shaft, attached to a gearbox to spin. The gearbox directs the captured energy to the generator, creating energy. The electricity produced travels through transformers, where voltage levels are adjusted to match the grid. Later on, we discuss briefly the working principle of wind turbines.Let’s dive into the history section of wind power.

Summaries the History of Wind Energy in Developing Electricity-

The first known wind turbine used to produce electricity was built in Scotland in 1887. It was created by Prof. James Blyth of Anderson collage, now know as Strathclyde University. It was built to charge the accumulators in his cottage at Kincardineshire, to power the lightings. Blyth offered the surplus electricity to power the street lights in the area. But the people turned down his offer, saying it “the work of the devil”.

In 1888, inventor Charles Brush built the first wind turbine in the US for his mansion in Ohio. Although Blyth used wind turbines to produce electricity for the first time, Brush is mainly known for inventing wind turbines. His turbine was 17 meters in diameter. It had 144 rotor blades of cedar wood. It could produce about 12 kilowatts of power.

history of wind energy-Charles Brush
Charles Brush; Image Source: alchetron.com

Charles Brush is known to be the inventor of the turbine. Danish inventor Poul la Cour upgraded wind turbine with fewer blades and more efficiency. He also established the Society of Wind Electrician which contributed to the development of the wind energy sector.  Today, wind turbine provides one-third of the total electricity produced in the world.

At present, wind turbine firms use two kinds of wind turbines; vertical-axis turbine, and horizontal axis wind turbine. The horizontal-axis turbine is the most popular one. Major components of a wind turbine are the rotor, gearbox, generators, etc. The total system stands with the help of a tower. The tower can be up to 126 meters long. Offshore turbines can be higher.

Today, wind energy is mostly used to produce electricity. But wind energy has a long tenure with the development of mankind.

Humans are using wind energy for their benefit since 5000 BC. Sails, wind pumps, windmills are the most common examples. Today, wind energy is also used is a sports activity.

The major advantage of wind energy is that it is clean and renewable. Electricity from wind turbines is cheaper than other sources. It is also an eco-friendly source because it does not emit any greenhouse gases. The major cons for wind energy that it requires a lot of land (except offshore). Wind turbines can be noisy sometimes. The turbines have a negative impact on wildlife, especially on birds and bats.

Wind turbine holds a great promise for the future. As fuel reserves will start to decay one day, wind energy is expected to replace the traditional ways. Already, one-third of the total power is generated from wind energy. With economic and environmental advantages, is getting more popular every day.

The Wind Energy History Timeline Era by Era :

1889: A Danish scientist, Poul la Cour developed an electricity-generating wind turbine in. Later he developed a way to supply a steady stream of power by adding a regulator to the turbine, known as the Kratostate.

history of wind energy-First wind turbine
Wind turbine built by Poul la Cour; Image source: poullacour.com

1895: Poul converted his windmill to a prototype power plant. It was used to light the village of Askov.

1990: Approximately 2500 windmills, generating a peak of 30 megawatts were being used across Denmark. Those were mainly used to power mechanical machines, such as pumps and grinders.

1903: Poul started the Society of Wind Electricians. He is the first person to develop turbines with fewer blades but more efficiency.

1904: The Society of Wind Electrician started their first course.

1908: 72 electricity-generating turbines established across Denmark, ranging from 5 to 25 kilowatts.

1927: Joe Jacob and Marcellus Jacob open ‘Joe Wind’ factory in Minneapolis, Minnesota. They produced turbines for farms.

1931: Darrieus wind turbine, a vertical-axis wind turbine was designed by Georges Jean Marie Darrieus, a French aeronautical engineer. This type of turbine is still used for niche applications, like a boat.

1931: Horizontal-axis turbine was built in Yalta with 100 KW of capacity with 32% load factor, similar to the ones that are being used today.

1957: Johannes Juul invented an emergency aerodynamic tip brake which is still used in modern turbines.

1975: A wind turbine program started by NASA to develop utility-scale wind turbines. This started modern-day turbine technology which includes steel tube towers, composite blade materials, variable-speed generators, partial-span pitch control, as well as structural, aerodynamic, and acoustic engineering design capabilities.

1978: World’s first multi-megawatt wind turbine was built with 2 megawatts capacity.

1980: Commercial wind turbine rotors get up to a diameter of 17 meters and a capacity of 75 kilowatts.

2000: Global wind power capacity extents up to 17,400 megawatts.

2002: Global wind power capacity reaches up to 31,100 megawatts.

2005: In the US 226 wind farms are going for online, providing sufficient powers for up to 2.2 million homes.

2007: Global wind power capacity reaches up to 93,820 megawatts.

2011: The Commercial wind turbine rotors get up to a diameter of 126 meters and wind turbines develop up to a capacity of 7500 kilowatts, approximately 100 times more than in the 1980s.

2013: The world’s first hybrid wind/current-powered turbine is installed off the coast of Japan.

Now its time to discuss how this(wind power) renewable sources of energy impact the different sectors such as environment, socio-economic, political, and many more.

After a glimpse of the history of wind energy, let’s kick off the importance of wind energy.

Importance of wind energy- How wind power impact on different sector? 

The most important aspect of wind is that it is free. This makes electricity from wind energy cheaper than any other source. Importance of wind energy can be categorized in the following manner:

#Environmental importance of wind energy :

Wind projects are environment-friendly. The world population is aware of the aftermath of spoiling the environment. Side effects of pollution can be reduced by applying eco-friendly. Wind energy comes in handy to tackle the problem. Wind energy does not only reduce pollution problems, provides recovery options too.

#Social importance of wind energy:

our world has an ever-growing need for energy. More and more energy is consumed with the passage of each day. But our sources of energy are limited. Traditional sources for energy will be exhausted one day. The world needs a sustainable source of energy. Wind energy is one, with the capability of meeting the social need of the world.

#Economical importance of wind energy :

Wind provides a cheaper cost of production than most other plants. Less cost means more economic surplus. Many of the world’s 1st world countries have already developed firms for wind energy like the USA, China, Japan, Germany. Others are developing. Wind energy is one of the fastest-growing electricity-generating business; surpassing nuclear power plants.

#Political impact of wind energy :

World needs power, but the sources of it are limited. This raises the pressure for fuel demand. Political tension is always at a peak for the retention of no-renewable fuel. With more development, wind energy can ease this pressure upon fuel and political tension thereby.

#Technical Importance:

Traditional ways of procuring power requires complex technical procedures. In contrast, wind power uses rather simpler procedures. The principle remains the same. With the advancement of technology, it has gained more efficiency. Moreover, it does not require complex technical knowledge to maintain which makes it more preferable.

Now its time to discuss wind turbines lets explore it in the next chapter!!

#What is Wind Turbine and How it converts wind to Electricity?

A turbine is a machine that spins around a flowing fluid, liquid or gas to capture some of the energy passing by. A wind turbine is simply a turbine that captures energy from wind flow with the same principle.

The rotor blades in front of the wind turbine is the actual turbine part. The blades have a curved shape, similar to airfoil wings of a plane. A set of gears or gearbox are attached behind the turbine. Turbines rotate at a relatively slow speed. Gearbox converts the speed in a higher state of motion. If enough speed is produced, driveshaft behind the gears powers the electricity generator. the whole system is supported by a tower. We use two major kinds of wind turbines today:

  1. Vertical-axis wind turbines
  2. Horizontal-axis wind turbines

Vertical-axis-wind-turbine

#How Wind turbine Works?- Working principle of Wind turbine :

A Turbine works in the following manner:

wind turbine working principle
Simplified design of a wind horizontal wind turbine and it’s components; Image source: researchagate.com
  1. Wind blows towards the turbine with kinetic energy.
  2. The rotors of the turbines spin around, capturing some of the kinetic energy from the wind.
  3. Modern turbines use a ‘pitch’ on the rotor hub to better harvest energy by re-correcting the angle of wind flow.
  4. Gearbox attached behind the turbine maximizes rotation speed.
  5. The electricity generator behind the gearbox converts kinetic energy into electricity.
wind turbine-gearbox
Gearbox of a wind turbine; image source: newsappear.com
  1. The current of electricity produced by the generator is transmitted to a step-up transformer through cables.
  2. Step-up transformer transforms the electricity to a higher voltage, making it usable for homes.

 

#Major uses of wind energy :

1.To generate electricity:

Today, wind energy is mostly used to produce electricity. Countries all over the world are adopting this cheap, clean and sustainable way of generating electricity. The USA, China, Japan, Denmark have already established a wind-provided electricity market. 591,549 megawatts were produced from wind turbines in 2018, which is almost one-third of the world’s total production.

2. In Transport:

Human civilization has been using wind energy to power transport from ancient times. Sails were discovered as early as 5000 B.C. and still is being used to power ships and boats.

3. In food production:

Another major use of wind energy is to produce food. The windmills were widely used to mill grains to make flour. Though this application is reduced because of better production methods.

4. In Agriculture:

Wind energy can be used in agricultural sectors. Wind pumps can pump water using the flow of the wind. This makes irrigation of the land cheaper. But like windmills, wind pump is a declined technology.

5. In Entertainment:

Wind energy is also used in sports activity. Various sports are played which requires wind energy such as windsurfing, sailing, gliding, kitesurfing, etc.

In the next section, I am trying to give you some ideas about the advantages and disadvantages of wind energy. Here advantages of wind energy come first-

# Advantages of Wind Energy : 

  • Wind energy has a very low rate of carbon-di-oxide emission, effectively zero. It also does not release any CFC.
  • No air or water pollution since it applies energy from the wind.
  • It does not require any fuel like coal, patrol, gases, etc.
  • Completely sustainable because wind is a continuous flow around the globe.
  • Wind turbines can be used almost anywhere, land or offshore. This removes the problem of land shortage for smaller countries.
  • Cheaper than most other energy production methods like nuclear power plants and coal plants.
  • No environmental effects since wind is produced on its own.
  • Reduces pressure on fuel which can be used in other resource production.

# Disadvantages of Wind Energy :

  • The high installation cost of turbines because the turbines and towers are costly but does not provide efficient production in proportion.
  • Economic subsidies needed to make wind energy viable.
  • Extra cost of upgrading grids and transmission lines.
  • Uses more land though offshore turbines are in operation now.
  • Wind turbines hamper wildlife of birds and bats.
  • Turbines can make noise and aesthetic pollution.

After knowing the advantages and the disadvantages of wind energy, now let’s get a short brief of the impact of the wind electricity.

# Environmental impact of wind energy :

Wind energy is a clean and sustainable source of power. However, it has some negative impact on the environment. First of all, wind turbines need large areas to be sited. This creates pressure on land for smaller sized countries. Bigger countries like China, Canada, the USA face a lesser effect on the land. Offshore turbines are more effective because the majority of earth covers with water.

Wind turbines have a greater impact on the habitat of wildlife, especially for airborne species like birds and bats. Many studies documented the hampering scenario of wildlife because of wind turbines. Offshore turbines have a similar impact.

Another major impact of wind turbines on the environment is, the turbines cause noise therefor aesthetic pollution. Also, aged out turbines produce vibration which is but they are not very severe.

Though wind turbines do not produce any harmful emission, stages of constructing a turbine burn fuel which is associated with emission. This is a minor and rather negligible impact of wind turbines on the environment.

# Socio-Economic Impact Of Wind Energy :

Wind turbines have a great positive impact on the countries socio-economic sector. Wind energy creates more revenue opportunities for firms because of its low-cost production of electricity and maintenance. This allows firms to provide cheaper electricity for the country, shifting expenditure patterns on other sectors.

Wind energy firms can also reduce the problem of unemployment by creating jobs. Idle population can be a burden for a country. The larger the workforce of a country, the quicker the development.

Smaller sized wind turbines are not very costly yet can produce enough electricity to power a house. This can be a source of power for personal consumption, reducing both demand and expense for electricity.

# Some cool data and stats of wind power – Present Scenario of Wind Energy

By the end of 2018, worldwide cumulative production capacity from wind turbines stands at 591,549 megawatts. The capacity is ever-growing, with a 9.6% from 2017. Although the United States was the leading provider of wind electricity until 2010, China has surpassed the USA. Another noticeable growth can be sighted in India.

stats about renewable energy
Statistics of country’s electricity generation capacity of 2018; image source: wikipedia.com

China holds the biggest share of the world’s total wind-generated power of about 211392 megawatts. It is almost 35% of the total wind electricity. They installed another 2300 megawatts capacity turbines by 2018. China is likely to invest more in the sector.

The USA is second in line with a cumulative of 9600 megawatts in 2018. It is about 15% of the world’s total capacity. Another 7000+ megawatts were installed in 2018. As the pioneer of the wind power industry, the USA has always been in a top position in the sector and tries to retain the glory.

After the USA, the Germany is in the 3rd position with 59311 megawatts with 10% of the world’s total. Another 3000 megawatts were installed last year. More investments will be made in the upcoming years.

Wind power is gaining popularity in other countries like Canada, Australia, and others. Although New Zealand had a growing industry for wind energy for past years, it had declined in the past two or three years resulting in no production from wind turbines. Australia and Canada hold a growing position.

# Top 15 Cool Facts of Wind Energy –

 

  1. Windmills have been in use since 5000 BC and were first developed in Persia and China.

2. Wind energy is still underused but holds potential for the future, although appliance has increased to 25% from previous years.

3. The wind tower can be as long as a 20 storied building.

4. The largest turbine in the USA can power 600 homes.

5. It has a bad reputation for making noise and aesthetic pollution.

6. It is one of the fastest-growing industries across the planet.

7. No water is used in wind turbines.

8. Most of the modern turbines use fewer blades, usually 3.

9. The rotation speed of the blades can reach a peak of 320 kmph.

10. The largest wind turbine in the world you will find in the US in Hawaii. It is actually 20 stories tall and has blades those lengths of a football field.

11. The first modern model of wind turbine was built in Vermont in 1940.

12. Approximately 1300 birds and bats are killed every year because of the turbines.

13. The first-ever book on theories of wind energy was “Wind Energie” by German pioneer

Betz.

14. A modern wind turbine has almost 8000 components.

15. Smaller wind turbines are built for personal consumption, to charge batteries as backup power.

Futuristic Tech of Wind energy : Future of wind energy technology as renewable source 

  • There are two major technologies of wind turbines, land and offshore. Land turbines are usually smaller in size and capacity than offshore turbines.
  • Current technologies for wind turbines can provide up to 32% efficiency in electricity production. Though it may sound disappointing, it does not bring a deficit as it is renewable.
  • A commercial turbine with present technology is capable of producing about 1.5 megawatts of power.
  • Current technologies allow a rotor up to 100 meters based on the type of turbine. Some advanced designed are successfully used in prototype machines to measure solid differences. Perhaps the most ambitious research is seeking to create a rotor blade longer than 650 feet for a 50-MW offshore wind turbine. That’s 2.5X longer and over 6X more output than the largest blades and turbines now in operation.
  • A concept of advanced Gearbox is under supervision which may provide 20% more efficient than the currently applied ones.
  • Research suggests a smarter design for blades which will allow turbines to draw more energy from wind, up to 10% extra.
  • Scientists and engineers are working to develop a noise-free pattern of turbines which will not only reduce sound generation but also increase total energy output by converting sound energy to electricity.

#Why Use Wind Energy ? Benefit of wind energy :

The biggest advantage of wind energy is that it is renewable. Scientists have been looking for renewable sources of energy for a long time. Also, current technologies allow us to use the power of wind more efficiently. Other sources consume some kind of fuel to operate, wind turbines do not but the flowing wind. This not only reduces pressure on fuels but also makes wind energy a clean source. The continuous burn of fuel is continuously polluting the earth’s atmosphere. But wind energy is eco-friendly since pollution caused by a wind turbine is next to zero. There are no byproducts or waste.

Wind energy is also very economical. Since n fuel is required, the cost of fuel is saved. Turbines do not have to be monitored closely like nuclear plants or other plants. The generation of electricity is automatic with the wind flow. The USA and China are successfully applying wind energy with economic surplus.

The future is wind energy is valuable because one-day mankind must narrow the consumption of traditional fuel. Scarcity is an inevitable occurrence. But wind is unlimited, renewable. It has no scarcity and no one can seize control of it. Wind is for everybody, so should energy be.

Final verdict :

After comprehensive brief of wind energy i think you are pretty clear about the historical timeline review of wind energy. Wind energy has been used for millenniums. It holds tremendous potential for the future. The demand for energy is increasing with the increase of population and technology. Wind energy can be converted to power easily with minimal cost. Modern-day turbines are contributing to the world’s total consumption of power satisfactorily.

Wind turbines hold numerous advantages and importance. In contrast, it has fewer drawbacks. The upcoming challenges are to develop better technology for next-generation wind turbines, which can replace traditional ways of power development.

From the past few decades, investments for wind energy have been escalating dramatically. Firms all over world are spending more on R&D of wind energy. The study predicts that it is not very long until wind energy become the most popular source of power for its clean and sustainable nature.

Is it enough to just knowing the history of wind energy?
Nope!!
We should realize the importance of renewable energy along with its environmental impact and try to act fast to adopt renewable energy as soon as possible for a better environment and energy conservation for the next generation.

 

Reference we use:

 

 

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