Mane Energy Issue 9 - March 2018 - Page 6

THE History of Wind turbines

5000 BC - 600 BC

Humans have been harnessing the power of wind since primitive civilisations. We know that in 5000 BC wind was being used in Egyptian civilisation to power boats along the Nile. The Persians were using wind power to drive devices to pump water and grind down grain in around 600 BC.

Archaeologists first discovered panemone windmills dating back to 500 AD; these were primarily decorative in China and Asia. In the 12th Century, Europeans built wind-powered mills used for milling grain and moving water. Weedley in Yorkshire has one of the earliest mills in the Uk dating back to 1185. The Dutch are well known for their abundance of windmills often being used to draw water for farming purposes in the 14th Century. It wasn’t until the 19th century that research commenced surrounding the use of wind power as a renewable source of electricity, scientist and inventors in Scotland began working hard to manufacture a device to harness this power.

At the tail end of the 19th century, Scottish scientist Prof. James Blyth was able to harness wind power to light his cottage, he offered his neighbours the renewable energy, however, was turned due to religious backfire. Although James then went on to supply a local asylum his wind turbine invention as a power source didn’t catch on. Interestingly in the US at the time inventors were developing a larger scale wind turbine with a wingspan of 50ft, although it was rather slow it produced enough energy to power the inventor's laboratories. Wind power lost its momentum a few years later due to power stations being able to provide more electricity at a cheaper cost.