History of wind power

Aspect of history / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Wind power has been used as long as humans have put sails into the wind. For more than two millennia wind-powered machines have ground grain and pumped water. Wind power was widely available and not confined to the banks of fast-flowing streams, or later, requiring sources of fuel. Wind-powered pumps drained the polders of the Netherlands, and in arid regions such as the American mid-west or the Australian outback, wind pumps provided water for livestock and steam engines.

Charles Brush's windmill of 1888, used for generating electricity.

With the development of electric power, wind power found new applications in lighting buildings remote from centrally-generated power. Throughout the 20th century parallel paths developed small wind plants suitable for farms or residences, and larger utility-scale wind generators that could be connected to electricity grids for remote use of power. Today wind-powered generators operate in every size range between tiny plants for battery charging at isolated residences, up to near-gigawatt sized offshore wind farms that provide electricity to national electrical networks.

By 2014, over 240,000 commercial-sized wind turbines were operating in the world, producing 4% of the world's electricity.[1][2]