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Wind Energy Industry Workers

History

The power of the wind has been utilized for thousands of years. As early as 5000 B.C. wind energy propelled boats on the Nile River in Ancient Egypt. By 200 B.C., according to a history of wind energy from the U.S. Department of Energy, “simple windmills in China were pumping water, while vertical-axis windmills with woven reed sails were grinding grain in Persia and the Middle East.”

Windmills were used extensively in the Middle East for food production by the 11th century. European traders and religious crusaders brought this technology back to Europe. The Dutch refined the design of the windmill and used it to drain marshes and lakes. (Today, when we think of Holland, we think of windmills and tulips.)

European colonists brought windmill technology to the Americas. Settlers used windmills to pump water for ranches and farms. Eventually, windmills were 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. Inexpensive electricity became available to rural areas in the United States.

Although industrialization caused a decline in the number of windmills being used, 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.

The energy crisis in the 1970s prompted increased research into wind energy and other renewable energy technologies. Scientists and other researchers sought ways to reduce costs and streamline wind energy technology.

The use of wind energy has grown by leaps and bounds in the United States since the first windmill was erected by colonists. The U.S. Department of Energy reports that in the United States, installed wind electricity capacity has been growing steadily since 2000, and is expected to continue growing throughout the states.