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History of Wind Power

This page was prompted by a technical question about early electricity-generating wind turbines in the United States. The question followed a similar question about "who was the first" to interconnect a wind turbine with an electricity network. There is a lot of confusion internationally about both subjects.

The history of wind energy is a broad subject and many have written about it. I've pulled together a list of sources, books, links, and museums that I know about. This list is far from comprehensive. If anyone wants to add to this list or edit this list, please do so.

A number of the entries below are reviews I've written of books that include the history of wind energy. The original book can usually be reached from the review. Other news items are relevant to the history of wind turbine development.

News & Articles on the History of Wind Power

Fluttering Flags, Can-can, & the Big Men of Wind Energy

June 27, 2016,   by Paul Gipe

No. That title isn’t click bate. Long ago, in a land far away, I had to give a speech on the future of wind energy. That’s not noteworthy; I do it all the time. What was noteworthy, though, was that...[more]

Category: News on Large Wind, History of Wind Power

Denmark's Agricco: History’s First Interconnected Wind Turbine

April 14, 2016,   by Paul Gipe

In 1919 the utility installed a wind turbine at Buddinge and connected it to its lines—a first worldwide, a full two decades before the Smith-Putnam machine in Vermont was connected to the grid.[more]

Category: History of Wind Power, Grid Integration, Book Wind Energy for the Rest of Us

Buchenwald’s Liberation and What It Says about the Development of Wind Energy

April 11, 2016,   by Paul Gipe

Today marks the liberation of the Buchenwald concentration camp in 1945 by the 6th armored division of the US Third Army. Buchenwald is significant for several reasons. 56,000 people died in the...[more]

Category: History of Wind Power, Book Wind Energy for the Rest of Us, News on Large Wind

Everything You Need to Know about Wind Energy Was Written in 1957!

March 21, 2016,   by Paul Gipe

In the research for my new book, Wind Energy for the Rest of Us, I came across several unsung heroes of wind energy development. One of those was French engineer Louis Vadot.[more]

Category: History of Wind Power, Book Wind Energy for the Rest of Us

New Photo of Anderson's Charles E Miller's Four-Blade Wind Turbine in 1926

March 16, 2016,   by Paul Gipe

The Madison County (Indiana) Historical Society was able to locate the photo that I'd seen on display in mid 2015 of Charles E Miller's 1926 wind turbine in Anderson, Indiana.[more]

Category: History of Wind Power

Was Anderson’s Miller First with Pitchable Blade Tips for Wind Turbines?

March 14, 2016,   by Paul Gipe

Miller is practically unknown among historians for his contribution to wind energy technology. He could be an unsung Hoosier hero for his invention of the pitchable blade tip.[more]

Category: History of Wind Power, Book Wind Energy for the Rest of Us

French Water-Pumping Windmills and Éolienne Bollée

March 14, 2016,   by Paul Gipe

In the research for my forthcoming book, Wind Energy for the Rest of Us, I came across a lot of intriguing information about the development of wind energy. While fascinating, much of it is too far...[more]

Category: History of Wind Power, Book Wind Energy for the Rest of Us

Charles Miller’s Four Blade Turbine of 1926: Indiana's Contribution to Wind Energy History

March 10, 2016,   by Paul Gipe

Miller was an inveterate inventor and the Madison County (Indiana) Historical Society has an exhibited devoted to his work. It was here that I first saw a clipping of his wind turbine.[more]

Category: History of Wind Power, Book Wind Energy for the Rest of Us

Dutch Transplant Wants to Save a Czech Watermill

March 9, 2016,   by Paul Gipe

Wherein we reconnect with a Dutch miller and learn of his campaign to preserve his adopted country’s watermills.[more]

Category: History of Wind Power, Renewable Energy

Photos of Germania, Zilvermeeuw, Kinderdijk, and Zaanse Schans Windmills Posted

March 9, 2016,   by Paul Gipe

I am continuing to update my web site by posting a series of photographs taken many years ago of Dutch or European windmills. There are now three new sub categories under Traditional Windmills: ...[more]

Category: History of Wind Power

Was Anderson Indiana a Part of Wind Industry History?

February 27, 2016,   by Paul Gipe

I don’t have a good answer to that question. All I know is that I stumbled a cross a faded newspaper clipping at the Madison County Historical Society that pictured a wind turbine that I’d never seen...[more]

Category: History of Wind Power

Still Turning: A History of Aermotor Windmills--A Review

February 26, 2016,   by Paul Gipe

Finally an answer to a question that has gnawed at me for decades: Where did one of the great windmill manufacturers of all time get the name Aermotor? Why not Aeromotor? That was the way I’ve...[more]

Category: book Reviews, History of Wind Power

Catching the Wind of the World (the Aerodyn Story)—a Review

January 12, 2016,   by Paul Gipe

Den Wind der Welt einfangen is part of series of retrospectives being issued by pioneers in the field of wind energy as they near retirement. Written by freelance journalist Dierk Jensen, Catching...[more]

Category: Reviews Coffee Table Books, News on Large Wind, Book Reviews of Books auf Deutsch, Reviews of Wind Books auf Deutsch, History of Wind Power

Wind Power for the World: The Rise of Modern Wind Energy—a Review

January 8, 2016,   by Paul Gipe

Wind Power for the World tells an exciting tell of hope and promise—how a small band of activists, dreamers, and entrepreneurs built one of the world’s fastest growing and dynamic industries. It’s a...[more]

Category: book Reviews, News on Large Wind, History of Wind Power

The Almost Forgotten Story Of The 1970s East Village Windmill

September 29, 2014,   by Shayla Love

I first heard of the East 11th Street windmill in hushed voices, over cafe con leches at a Cuban restaurant on Avenue C.

Category: News on Small Wind, History of Wind Power

Archive Photos of Kaiser-Wilhelm-Koog Posted

May 30, 2013,   by Paul Gipe

I've posted photos from the late 1980s of Germany's first wind farm as well as its failed experiment with Growian.

Category: History of Wind Power

Henning Holst's Short History of the Danish Wind Industry

December 17, 2012,   by Paul Gipe

Henning Holst is one of Germany's pioneering community wind developers. Located in the center of the wind energy universe in Husum (the gray city by the sea) in northwestern Germany, he was there at...[more]

Category: News on Large Wind, History of Wind Power

Wind Power: a Danish Story-A review

November 16, 2012,   by Paul Gipe

This is a beautifully done DVD on the early days of the Danish wind industry. The film was produced by Jørgen Vestergaard in Danish with English subtitles and includes movie clips, photos, and...[more]

Category: book Reviews, News on Large Wind Turbines, History of Wind Power

Windgesichter (The Face of Wind Energy) a Review by Paul Gipe

April 26, 2010,   by Paul Gipe

Windgesichter: Aufbruch der Windenergie in Deutschland (The face of wind: Dawn of wind energy in Germany) by Jan Oelker is a joy to behold. It's one of those rare cases where you can indeed tell a...[more]

Category: Reviews Coffee Table Books, Reviews of Wind Books auf Deutsch, Book Reviews of Books auf Deutsch, History of Wind Power

Wind Power--The Danish Way

April 16, 2010,   by Paul Gipe

Wind Power The Danish Way: From Poul la Cour to Modern Wind Turbines is a book written by a who's who of Danish wind power. It's a celebratory book and Danes have a lot to celebrate--a lot to be...[more]

Category: book Reviews, History of Wind Power

Wind powered factories: history (and future) of industrial windmills

August 10, 2009,   by Kris De Decker

One of the most spectacular developments of industrial wind power technology occurred in the Zaan district, a region situated just above Amsterdam in the Netherlands. . . From 1600 to 1750, when the...

Category: History of Wind Power

Winds of Change: A comparative study of the politics of wind energy innovation in California and Denmark

January 19, 2004,   by Paul Gipe

Winds of Change by Rinie van Est is a masterly work of meticulous research that could well become a classic in its field. It should be required reading for all energy planners, and energy industry...[more]

Category: book Reviews, History of Wind Power

Les éoliennes multipales, progrès et tradition (French Multiblade Wind Pumps: Progress and Tradition)

December 1, 2002,   by Etienne Rogier

Extensive treatise on the development, manufacture, and use of multiblade, mechanical farm windmills in France during the 19th century.

Category: History of Wind Power

Die Geschichte der Windenergienutzung 1890-1990 (The History of Wind Energy Utilization 1890-1990) by Matthias Heymann

May 22, 2001,   by Paul Gipe

American readers will find two sections particularly intriguing: development of wind energy in Germany during the Third Reich, and a critical comparison of the German, U.S., and Danish wind energy...[more]

Category: Reviews of Wind Books auf Deutsch, Book Reviews of Books auf Deutsch, History of Wind Power

Reaping the Wind: How Mechanical Wizards, Visionaries, and Profiteers Helped Shape Our Energy Future by Peter Asmus

January 1, 2001,   by Paul Gipe

Timing is everything. And Peter Asmus couldn't have better timed the release of his book about the rise and fall of California's wind industry. Just as California entered its first rolling blackouts...[more]

Category: book Reviews, History of Wind Power

L’électricité éolienne de la Belle Epoque à EDF (French Wind Energy from the Belle Epoque to EDF)

November 1, 2000,   by Etienne Rogier

Introduction to all the great names of French wind energy, including Georges Darrieus, Louis Vadot, Louis Constantin, the Duke de Goyon, and Laboratoire Eiffel.

Category: History of Wind Power

Wind Energy in America: A History by Robert Righter

January 1, 1996,   by Paul Gipe

"The free benefit of the wind ought not be denied to any man." [more]

Category: book Reviews, History of Wind Power, FloWind

The Land of the Living: The Danish Folk High Schools and Denmark's Non-Violent Path to Modernization by Steven Borish

January 1, 1994,   by Paul Gipe

A Dutch colleague, Rinie van Est, referred me to a fascinating book by American anthropologist Steven Borish. The book, Land of the Living, is based on Borish's study of the Danish folkehøjskol...[more]

Category: book Reviews, History of Wind Power

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