10 Key Historical Energy Events By hunterbrakovec 100 Crude Oil The Chinese refined crude oil for use in lighting and heating. 200 Natural Gas The Chinese used natural gas to make salt from salt water in gas-fired evaporators. Jan 30, 1300 Wind The first horizontal-axis windmills appeared in Western Europe. Jan 1, 1816 Coal Baltimore, Maryland, became the first city to light streets with gas made from coal. Jan 30, 1835 Electricity Joseph Henry invented the electrical relay. Jan 30, 1860 Solar Auguste Mouchout was able to convert solar radiation directly into mechanical power. Jan 30, 1893 Hydroelectric The first dam specifically designed for generating hydropower was completed near Ausin, Texas. Jan 30, 1904 Geothermal The first dry steam geothermal power plant was built in Landerello in Tuscany, Italy. Jan 30, 1953 Nuclear The first nuclear powered supmarine, the U.S.S. Nautilus, was launched. Jan 30, 1999 Geothermal California's geothermal power plants provided 54.9% of the state's electricity.