A brief history of Wind Turbines

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A Brief History of Wind Farms
The harnessing of the power of the wind is something that stretches back to the very earliest of civilisations. Wind powered has been used for sea travel since the 5th millennium B.C. and windmills were used in Persia from as early as 200 B.C.
However the conversion of wind power into electricity starts at the tail end of the 18th Century in Scotland. Professor James Blyth of Anderson’s College in Glasgow created the first of this three wind powered turbines in July 1887. His first design used cloth sails much like a windmill and stored the electricity in accumulators and this energy was used to power the lights in his holiday cottage in Marykirk. This was the first house in the world to be powered by wind.
Blyth then worked on a number of different designs and the final design operated for the next 25 years. The machine was so good at producing electricity that is would produce a surplus. Blyth offered this surplus for free to the people of Marykirk to light the main street of the town. Unfortunately his offer was not received well, as the people thought electricity was "the work of The Devil".

It was not only the people of Marykirk that had an issue with wind powered electricity. It was viewed as uneconomic by the power suppliers in the UK and as a result no new wind turbines were built in the Britain until 1951.
Just months after James Blyth’s wind turbine in Scotland Professor Charles F Brush built a wind turbine in Ohio USA. The 12kW turbine charged 408 batteries in the cellar of his house. Brush invention of the electrical turbine (without wind power) was exported to the UK were it was manufactured by Brush Electrical Machines who are still trading in Loughborough in England.
The work of scientist Poul la Cour in Denmark during the 1890’s that discovered that the most efficient way of producing energy with wind was to create fewer fast moving blades. He used this breakthrough to provide the power for the village of Askov until 1958.
La Cour also founded the Society of Wind Electricians which held their first course in wind power in 1903. The fairy-tale, “Trolden”, written by La Cour, about energy for children placed electricity at the centre of the story and also its hero.

The first large surge in the growth of wine turbines happened in the USA where around 100,000 small devices capable of generating between 5kW to 25kW were produced at around the time of the First World War. These machines were primarily used to power water pumps on remote farms that hadn’t been hooked up to the main electrical grind.
A forerunner in design and power output to rival the modern wine powered turbines were produced by the USSR in 1931. It was the first 100 kW generator and the blades sat on top of a 98 foot tower in Yalta. At an output of 32 per cent its ratio was very similar to the wind turbines in operation today.
John Brown and Company added the first wine turbine that was connected to the National Grid in the UK in 1951. The machine was placed in the Orkney Islands. There has been a massive increase in wind farms in the UK in the last 20 years both on and off shore.
The UK is the largest producer of offshore wind power generation since October 2008 when it overtook Denmark. The UK is also home to the world largest offshore windfarm that sits off the coast of Thanet in the country of Kent. The UK is now ranked as the 8th biggest produce of wind power in the world and by mid-2011, the installed capacity of wind power in the United Kingdom was over 5.7 gigawatts. In October 2011 there were 310 operational wind farms in the UK, with 3,421 turbines and 5,767 MW of installed capacity.
The expansion of wind power in the UK looks set to increase as new ways of creating more green energy are sort to replace the fossil fuel power stations.
Tony Heywood ©
For more information about Energy Law and Planning for Wind Turbines.

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