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Wind Energy Engineers

History

Wind power has been harnessed since early civilization. Ancient Egyptians used wind energy as early as 5000 B.C., to propel boats on the Nile River. By 200 B.C., there were simple windmills in China that were used to pump water, and more complex windmills were used in Persia and the Middle East to grind grain, according to a history of wind energy from the U.S. Department of Energy.

By the 11th century windmills were used extensively in the Middle East for food production. European traders and religious crusaders brought this technology back to Europe, and the Dutch refined the design of the windmill to use for draining marshes and lakes. European colonists brought windmill technology to the Americas. Settlers used windmills to pump water for ranches and farms. Windmills were eventually used to generate electricity.

The Industrial Revolution caused a decline in the use of windmills in Europe and the United States. Steam engines replaced water-pumping windmills and inexpensive electricity was soon available to rural areas in the United States. Industrialization caused a decline in the number of windmills being used, but it prompted the development of larger windmills, known as wind turbines, to create large amounts of electricity. Wind turbines were constructed in Denmark as early as 1890. Wind turbines were also constructed in the United States.

In the 1970s, the energy crisis turned the focus back on wind energy and other renewable energy options. Scientists and other researchers sought ways to reduce costs and streamline wind energy technology. Wind energy usage in the United States has grown in the past few decades. The U.S. Department of Energy reports that installed wind electricity capacity in the U.S. has been growing steadily since 2000, and is expected to continue growing throughout the states. Wind energy engineers with experience in designing and improving upon designs of wind energy collection systems will continue to be in demand.

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