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Wind Energy Operations Managers

History

Early civilizations found ways to harness wind power to improve their lives. Ancient Egyptians in 5000 B.C. used wind energy to propel boats on the Nile River. By 200 B.C., according to a history of wind energy from the U.S. Department of Energy, China had simple windmills for pumping waters, and Persia and the Middle East had vertical-axis windmills with reed sails for grinding grain.

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

The use of windmills in Europe and the United States declined during the Industrial Revolution. Steam engines replaced water-pumping windmills and inexpensive electricity soon 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 sparked growth in research into wind energy and other renewable energy technologies. Scientists and other researchers sought ways to reduce costs and streamline wind energy technology. 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 in the years to come. The American Wind Energy Association reports that there are more than 54,000 wind turbines operating in the United States and that U.S. wind power has more than tripled since 2008. Wind energy operations managers with experience and strong technology skills will continue to be in demand.

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