Wind Energy

  • 5000 BCE

    5000 Egypt Harness wind

    5000 Egypt Harness wind
    Around 5000 B.C., the Ancient Egyptians first lashed bundles of papyrus stalks together to make rafts. The north-flowing current of the river is matched by highly reliable south-blowing winds. Ancient boats and barges could float north with the current and sail south with the wind. The river served as the major highway of Egypt. The ease of transportation on the Nile promoted trade, which became an important part of the economy of ancient Egypt.
  • 2000 BCE

    2000 China uses Windmills

    According to historical data, windmills were used to pump water in China
  • 500 BCE

    Persia about 500-900 A.D

    Persia about 500-900 A.D
    The first known documented design is also of a Persian windmill, this one with vertical sails made of bundles of reeds or wood which were attached to the central vertical shaft by horizontal struts
  • 200 BCE

    200 BC - Europeans Harness Water Energy to Power Mills

    200 BC - Europeans Harness Water Energy to Power Mills
    . By the end of the Roman era, waterwheels powered mills to crush grain, full cloth, tan leather, smelt and shape iron, saw wood, and carry out a variety of other early industrial processes. Productivity increased, dependence on human and animal muscle power gradually declined, and locations with good water-power resources became centers of economic and industrial activity.
  • Jan 1, 1100

    1100 - Medieval Windmills

    1100 - Medieval Windmills
    Wind power began appearing in several regions of Europe during the medieval period. Windmills in Europe were used to crush grain
  • Oct 9, 1390

    1390 Mediterranean coast.

    1390 Mediterranean coast.
    The first windmills to appear in western Europe were of the horizontal-axis configuration. The reason for the sudden evolution from the vertical-axis Persian design approach is unknown. These mills used wooden cog-and-ring gears to translate the motion of the horizontal shaft to vertical movement to turn a grindstone. This gear was apparently adapted for use on post mills from the horizontal-axis water wheel developed by Vitruvius.
  • Jan 1, 1500

    As early as 1390, the Dutch set out to refine the tower mill design

    These mills were the "electrical motor" of pre-industrial Europe. Applications were diverse, ranging from the common waterwell, irrigation, or drainage pumping using a scoop wheel (single or tandem), grain-grinding (again, using single or multiple stones), saw-milling of timber, and the processing of other commodities such as spices, cocoa, paints and dyes, and tobacco.
  • 1590 - Dutch Windmills

    1590 - Dutch Windmills
    The Dutch provinces... developed the windmill to the fullest possible degree: it ground the grain produced on the rich meadows, it sawed the wood... and it ground the spices... The Dutch refined the windmill and adapted it for draining lakes and marshes in the Rhine River Delta.
  • 1600s - New World Windmill

    The Dutch introduced their innovative windmill designs to the New World
  • 1700s - Industrial Revolution

    Windmills lost some of their importance during the 1700s due to the Industrial Revolution
  • 1850s - Windmill Becomes Popular Water Pumping Tool of Western Homesteaders and Railroad Builders

    1850s - Windmill Becomes Popular Water Pumping Tool of Western Homesteaders and Railroad Builders
    It transformed the abundant wind into an agent to alleviate the shortage of water. It liberated groundwater for a moisture-poor region, providing the technology necessary to settle vast tracts of the rangeland
  • 1854 - Halladay Windmill

    1854 - Halladay Windmill
    It allowed the windmill to automatically turn to face changing wind directions, and it regulated and maintained a uniform speed by changing the pitch of the sails—without human oversight.
  • 1887 - James Blythe

    1887 - James Blythe
    James Blythe was described as "a true man of science...one who by insight, patient toil, and mechanical ingenuity did much in his day to explain and illustrate many of the facts of physical science." He is best known as the inventor of the world's first wind turbine for electricity generation.
  • 1888 by Charles F. Brush

     1888 by Charles F. Brush
    The first use of a large windmill to generate electricity was a system built in Cleveland, Ohio, in 1888 by Charles F. Brush. The Brush machine (shown at right) was a postmill with a multiple-bladed "picket-fence" rotor 17 meters in diameter, featuring a large tail hinged to turn the rotor out of the wind. It was the first windmill to incorporate a step-up gearbox (with a ratio of 50:1) in order to turn a direct current generator at its required operational speed (in this case, 500 RPM.)
  • 1890s - World Fair

    Six million windmills were reportedly installed across America. Windmills started using steel blades which boosted efficiency. The Chicago World’s Fair presented 15 windmill companies and their turbine designs.
  • 1891, the Dane Poul La Cour developed the first electrical output wind machine

    1891, the Dane Poul La Cour developed the first electrical output wind machine
    It would incorporate the aerodynamic design principles (low-solidity, four-bladed rotors incorporating primitive airfoil shapes) used in the best European tower mills. The higher drive train speed of the La Cour rotor made these mills quite practical for electricity generation. By the close of World War I, the use of 25 kilowatt electrical output machines had spread throughout Denmark, but cheaper and larger fossil-fuel steam plants soon put the operators of these mills out of business.
  • 1920 - Change in design

    By 1920, the two dominant rotor configurations (fan-type and sail) had both been tried and found to be inadequate for generating appreciable amounts of electricity. The further development of wind generator electrical systems in the United States was inspired by the design of airplane propellers and (later) low windspeed monoplane wings.
  • 1920 - Parris-Dunn and Jacobs Wind-electric

    1920 - Parris-Dunn and Jacobs Wind-electric
    The first small electrical-output wind turbines simply used modified propellers to drive direct current generators. By the mid-1920's, 1 to 3-kilowatt wind generators developed by companies. These systems were installed at first to provide lighting for farms and to charge batteries used to power crystal radio sets. Uses extended to array of direct-current motor-driven appliances. More appliances were powered by the early wind generators, intermittent operation became a problem.
  • 1920s - Egg Beater Windmill

    1920s - Egg Beater Windmill
    French inventor, Georges Jean Marie Darrieus developed a turbine called the ‘eggbeater’, which stood out for its slender vertical axis turbine
  • 1927 - First Commercial Wind Turbines Sold to Generate Electricity on Remote Farms

    1927 - First Commercial Wind Turbines Sold to Generate Electricity on Remote Farms
    The Jacob brothers created a wind powered turbine based on the design of earlier water pump mills. The design succeeds when they replace the blades of the water pump mills with modern air plane propellers. In 1927 the Jacobs Wind Electric Company is formed. Between 1927 and 1957 the company sells over 30,000 units.
  • 1930- Great Depression

    The virtual demise of these systems was hastened during the late 1930s and the 1940s by two factors: the demand of farmsteads for ever larger amounts of power on demand, and the Great Depression, which spurred the U.S. federal government to stimulate the depressed rural economies by extending the electrical grid throughout those areas.
  • 1931 - Russia Windmill experiment

    1931 - Russia Windmill experiment
    The development of bulk-power, utility-scale wind energy conversion systems was first undertaken in Russia in 1931 with the 100kW Balaclava wind generator. This machine operated for about two years on the shore of the Caspian Sea, generating 200,000 kWh of electricity.
  • 1931 - First Windmill Power Plant

    Russia constructed the first commercial power plant that employed wind turbines to produce electricity
  • 1941 - Russian design installed in US

    The largest was the 1.25 megawatt Smith-Putnam machine , installed in Vermont in 1941. This horizontal-axis design featured a two-bladed, 175-foot diameter rotor oriented down-wind of the tower. The 16-ton stainless steel rotor used full-span blade pitch control to maintain operation at 28 RPM.
  • 1950 - US down but other parts of the world still in use

    While the market for new small wind machines of any type had been largely eroded in the United States by 1950, the use of mechanical and electrical system continued throughout Europe and in windy, arid climates such as those found in parts of Africa and Australia.
  • 1960 - Gedser Mill due to WWII

    1960 - Gedser Mill due to WWII
    European developments continued after World War II, when temporary shortages of fossil fuels led to higher energy costs. As in the United States, the primary application for these systems was interconnection to the electric power grid. In Denmark, the 200 kW Gedser Mill wind turbine operated successfully until the early 1960s, when declining fossil-fuel prices once again made wind energy made uncompetitive with steam-powered generating plants.
  • 1968 - Hutter experiment

    1968 - Hutter experiment
    In Germany, Professor Ulrich Hutter developed a series of advanced, horizontal-axis designs of intermediate size that utilized modern, airfoil-type fiberglass and plastic blades with variable pitch to provide light weight and high efficiency.Hutter's advanced designs achieved over 4000 hours of operation before the experiments were ended in 1968.
  • 1970 - 1 horsepower or less

    1970 - 1 horsepower or less
    Between 1850 and 1970, over six million mostly small (1 horsepower or less) mechanical output wind machines were installed in the U.S. alone. The primary use was water-pumping and the main applications were stock watering and farm home water needs. Very large windmills, with rotors up to 18 meters in diameter, were used to pump water for the steam railroad trains that provided the primary source of commercial transportation in areas where there were no navigable rivers.
  • 1971 - First offshore Wind Farm

    1971 - First offshore Wind Farm
    In 1971, the first offshore wind farm in the world began operations off the coast of Denmark
  • 1973- US Federal Wind Energy Program

    U.S. efforts with the Darrieus concept at Sandia National Laboratories began after the 1973 oil embargo, with the entry of the U.S. Federal Wind Energy Program into the cycle of wind energy development.
  • 1973 - Plum Brook Program

    Beginning with the 100kW MOD-0 installed at NASA's Plum Brook Ohio facility in 1975, the U.S. program rapidly moved through several generations, including the MOD-1 and the 100-meter diameter MOD-2 wind turbines
  • 1975 - Federal Involvement in Wind Energy Development Advances Wind Energy Technology

    1975 - Federal Involvement in Wind Energy Development Advances Wind Energy Technology
    NSF and later the DOE a total of 13 experimental wind turbines were put into operation including four major wind turbine designs. This research and development program pioneered many of the multi-megawatt turbine technologies in use today, including: steel tube towers, variable-speed generators, composite blade materials, partial-span pitch control. The large wind turbines developed under this effort set several world records for diameter and power output.
  • Apr. 18, 1977 - President Carter Delivers Famous Energy Speech Arguing for Conservation and Alternative Fuels

    Apr. 18, 1977 - President Carter Delivers Famous Energy Speech Arguing for Conservation and Alternative Fuels
    President Jimmy Carter makes a famous speech on energy, detailing how the US is facing an imminent energy shortage and arguing that the country must make profound changes in the way it uses energy.
  • Aug. 4, 1977 - Department of Energy Organization Act Is Signed, Creating the US Department of Energy

    Aug. 4, 1977 - Department of Energy Organization Act Is Signed, Creating the US Department of Energy
    The rapidly escalating global energy issues convinced the U.S. Government that a sharper focus should be applied to federal energy programs. On August 4, 1977, President Carter signed the Department of Energy Organization Act, consolidating more than 30 separate energy functions carried out by various government agencies, including ERDA [Energy Research and Development Administration]. On October 1, 1977, the U.S. Department of Energy activated
  • 1980 - Market California Windfarms

    1980 - Market California Windfarms
    After 1980, the market in the United States was dominated by the emergence of the wind farm. The coalescence of several application-dependent, legislative, and economic factors. Among the key economic factors were the federal energy credit of 15%, a 10% federal investment credit, and a 50%
  • 1980 - Nasa Design

    1980 - Nasa Design
    The rigid hub NASA turbines (with a probable useful machine life measured in months) none-the-less served as useful stand-ins for demonstration projects until "real" machines arrived in the early 1980's.The program's biggest early success was the operation of four MOD-OA 200 kW machines by U.S. utility companies
  • 1980s - US Tax credit

    The government in the U.S. delivers tax credits for the use of renewable power
  • Dec. 1980 - World's First Wind Farm Built in New Hampshire

    In December 1980, U.S. Windpower installed the world's first wind farm, consisting of 20 wind turbines rated at 30 kilowatts each, on the shoulder of Crotched Mountain in southern New Hampshire. Like many firsts, it was a failure
  • 1981 - Construction Begins on the World's Largest Wind Farm in California's Altamont Pass; Bird Deaths from Wind Turbines Number in the Thousands

    1981 - Construction Begins on the World's Largest Wind Farm in California's Altamont Pass; Bird Deaths from Wind Turbines Number in the Thousands
    The Altamont wind farm consists of about 4,800 small wind turbines with a capacity of 576 megawatts (MW) annual generation of about 1.1 terawatt-hours (TWh) of electricity. The Altamont wind resource area is one of three primary regions, the others being Tehachapi and San Gorgonio [California]. Every year, an estimated 75 to 110 Golden Eagles are killed by the wind turbines in the Altamont Pass Wind Resource Area
  • 1983 - California Windfarm

    1983 - California Windfarm
    The Enertech 44/15 in1981 at Rocky Flats. Over 600 of
    these turbines (up-rated to 40 or 60kW) were operating in California Windfarms by 1983 and made a cameo appearance in the film "Rainman." It was later value-engineered to produce the Atlantic Orient 15/50 machine.
  • 1989 - National Wind Technology Center.

    Finally, in 1989, the federal program -- now managed by NREL -- seized an opportunity provided by the Bush administration and resumed under-funded value engineering of some of the early 1980's designs. Some of the results can be seen at the Web site of the National Wind Technology Center.
  • 1990 - National Renewable Energy Laboratory Colorado

    In the 1990's, a wiser U.S. industry encouraged renewed modest funding for research and development, primarily in programs managed by the National Wind Technology Center, operated by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory at a site just outside Boulder, Colorado.
  • 1991 - UK Onshore wind farm

    In 1991, the U.K.’s first onshore wind farm is opened in Cornwall. The farm had a capacity of 10 turbines that supplied enough power for 2,700 homes.
  • 1992 - Energy Policy

    In 1992, the Energy Policy Act in the U.S. announces a production tax credit of 1.5 cents per kWh of wind energy generated electricity. It aims its focus on increasing use of renewable energy.
  • 1995 - Texas/California Farms

    1995 - Texas/California Farms
    Zond Z-40 turbines (at left) operated for a utility in southwest Texas, a wind plant of 46 Vestas machines planned for Big Spring, Texas, a 10-megawatt wind plant in Northern Colorado, a number of plants in the upper midwest, and the "re-powering" of some projects in California.
  • 1998 - Cost For Energy

    The cost of energy from larger electrical output wind turbines used in utility-interconnected or wind farm applications has dropped from more than $1.00 per kilowatt-hour (kWh) in 1978 to under $0.05 per kWh in 1998, and is projected to plummet to $0.025 per kWh when new large wind plants come on line.
  • 2000s - Wind power Price

    The price of electricity generated using wind power was between 4 to 6 cents per kWh
  • 2001 - Wind Energy Capacity

    Wind energy capacity reached a total of 24,800 megawatts. The global wind power market generated approximately US$7 billion revenue.
  • 2003 - Europe Wind Energy

    Legal compliance in Europe encouraged the growth of wind energy in this region. Europe boasted a massive 70% of total global wind energy production.
  • 2004 - Price for Power

    The price of electricity generated using wind power falls to 3 to 4 cents per kWh
  • 2006 - Global Wind Production

    Global wind power production exceeded 74,000 megawatts
  • Nov. 17, 2007 - IPCC Report Concludes Climate Change Is Happening and Is Mostly Human Caused

    The report confirms that climate change is occurring now, mostly as a result of human activities; it illustrates the impacts of global warming already under way and to be expected in future, and describes the potential for adaptation of society to reduce its vulnerability; finally it presents an analysis of costs, policies and technologies intended to limit the extent of future changes in the climate system.
  • 2007 - US Capacity

    The U.S. wind power capacity climbed by an impressive 45%
  • Feb. 17, 2009 - American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 Contains Billions of Dollars for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Developments

    Feb. 17, 2009 - American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 Contains Billions of Dollars for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Developments
    The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act includes billions in energy investments, including grants and loan guarantees for renewable energy development, fossil fuel development, energy efficiency programs, energy storage technology, and electric grid modernization. Section H.R. 1-24 of the Act allocates $16.8 billion to the Department of Energy for "energy efficiency and renewable energy" programs
  • Apr. 22, 2009 - First Framework for Wind Energy Development on the US Outer Continental Shelf Announced

    President Barack Obama announced that the Department of the Interior has finalized a long-awaited framework for renewable energy production on the U.S. Outer Continental Shelf (OCS). The framework establishes a program to grant leases, easements, and rights-of-way for orderly, safe, and environmentally responsible renewable energy development activities, such as the sitting and construction of off-shore wind farms, on the OCS
  • Oct. 27, 2009 - US Invests $3.4 Billion to Modernize Energy Grid

    The $3.4 billion in Smart Grid Investment Grant awards are part of the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act, and will be matched by industry funding for a total public-private investment worth over $8 billion."
  • 2010 - Cape Wind Project

    Cape Wind received approval by the Federal Government as the first offshore wind farm in America
  • 2012 - US Statistic

    Wind energy powered 15 million homes in the U.S. and became the primary source of renewable electricity
  • 2013 - US Market

    US its installed capacity of about 62,000 megawatts (2014) was disappointing, although the smaller number of installed U.S. megawatts still generated a respectable 140 terrawatt-hours (TWh) of electricity compared with Europe's grand total of over 200 TWh in 2013.
  • June 25, 2013 - President Obama releases his climate action plan including increased use of renewable energy and carbon pollution restrictions for power plants

    June 25, 2013 - President Obama releases his climate action plan including increased use of renewable energy and carbon pollution restrictions for power plants
    Administration is establishing a new goal: The federal government will consume 20 percent of its electricity from renewable sources by 2020 – more than double the current goal of 7.5 percent...”
  • 2013 - Chinese Market

    The Chinese are a growing factor in the international market, generating over 100 TWh of electricity from about 91,000 MW of installed capacity in 2013.
  • 2013 - Canada Wind Project

    2013 - Canada Wind Project
    The first offshore wind farm in Canada is planned for coastal British Columbia. 110 turbines are expected to contribute to generate 396 megawatts of power.
  • 2014 - Denmark and Spain Wind Projects

    2014: Wind energy alone contributes 20-30% of the annual electricity demand in nations such as Denmark and Spain
  • 2014- Cost Comparison

    In the Midwestern United States, contracts for wind power are being signed at a price of 2.5¢ per kilowatt-hour (kWh), which compares with the nationwide average grid price of 10–12¢ per kWh
  • 2014- Income for Land Owners

    A farmer in the Midwest U.S. can obtain a lease for a turbine that generates $300,000 worth of electricity per year and receive royalties of $3,000 to $10,000 per turbine each year.
  • 2014- Homes powered by wind

    By the end of 2014, global wind generating capacity totaled 369,000 megawatts, enough to power more than 90 million U.S. homes.
  • 2015 - GE largest Producer of Windfarms

    In 2015, GE was still the largest U.S. manufacturer of wind turbines, although recently overtaken by the Danish company Vestas as the largest manufacturer and installer in the world.
  • 2020 - Future Projections EWEA

    2020 - Future Projections EWEA
    The European Wind Energy Association (EWEA) is projecting that offshore installed capacity will increase to 40 GW in 2020 from 6.5 GW in 2013.
  • 2020 - Future Projections China

    2020 - Future Projections China
    China generates more electricity from wind farms than from nuclear plants, and has an easily-reachable wind power goal of 200,000 megawatts by 2020.
  • 2020 Projections

    2020 Projections
    World wind power capacity grew more than 20 percent a year and will continue to grow
  • 2050 Projectons

    2050 Projectons
    Wind energy is available nationwide. The Wind Vision Report shows that wind can be a viable source of renewable electricity in all 50 states by 2050. Wind energy supports a strong domestic supply chain. Wind has the potential to support over 600,000 jobs in manufacturing, installation, maintenance, and supporting services by 2050. Wind energy deployment increases community revenues.
  • 2050 - Projections

    2050 - Projections
    Wind energy is affordable. As wind generation agreements typically provide 20-year fixed pricing, the electric utility sector is anticipated to be less sensitive to volatility in natural gas and coal fuel prices with more wind. By reducing national vulnerability to price spikes and supply disruptions with long-term pricing, wind is anticipated to save consumers $280 billion by 2050.
  • 2050 Projections

    2050 Projections
    Wind energy reduces air pollution emissions. Operating wind energy capacity avoided the emission of over 250,000 metric tons of air pollutants. By 2050, wind energy could avoid the emission of 12.3 gigatonnes of greenhouse gases. Wind energy preserves water resources. By 2050, wind energy can save 260 billion gallons of water—the equivalent to roughly 400,000 Olympic-size swimming pools—that would have been used by the electric power sector.
  • 2050 Projections

    2050 Projections
    Wind energy deployment increases community revenues. Local communities will be able to collect additional tax revenue from land lease payments and property taxes, reaching $3.2 billion annually by 2050.
  • 2050 - Future Projections

    2050 - Future Projections
    The Wind Vision Report takes America’s current installed wind power capacity across all facets of wind energy (land-based, offshore, and distributed) as its baseline—a capacity that has tripled since the 2008 release of the Energy Department’s 20% Wind Energy by 2030 report—and assesses the potential economic, environmental, and social benefits of a scenario where U.S. wind power supplies 10% of the nation’s electrical demand in 2020, 20% in 2030, and 35% in 2050.