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Latest Articles by Paul Gipe

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Paul Gipe

On the Writing Life

I began writing as a way to explore the world, learn something new, and make a difference. It has been that–and more. I’ve been more or less freelancing since the mid 1970s when I published an exposé in an independent (counter-culture) newspaper on a McDonald’s billboard. The article was a success and the offending billboard was eventually removed. Ah, the power of the pen. I was hooked.

I’ve uploaded a Multilingual Lexicon of more than 200 terms to a Google spreadsheet. The lexicon describes terms used in wind energy in six different languages: English, Dansk, Deutsch, Español, Français, and Italiano.

I’ve tracked battery degradation in the EVs we’ve driven during the past decade. The short answer is that our Nissan Leaf lost a lot, our Chevy Bolts not so much. Since switching to the Bolts, we’ve traveled nearly 70,000 miles on three different batteries. Each battery has lost about 5% of its capacity over 20,000 to 30,000 miles. Importantly, this modest capacity loss hasn’t affected how we use the cars or how far we can drive them.

Smith Putnam Patent Drawings.

By

Paul Gipe

Glossary of Wind Energy Terminology

This 30,000 word glossary was written by Paul Gipe and Bill Canter in the late-1990s. I’ve added the glossary to my web site for both its historical content—many of the terms were in use during the 1980s and 1990s—and as a reference for the thousands of newcomers to the wind industry since it was first published.

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Paul Gipe

Wind-Powered Vehicles: Is this a Thing?

Yes it is. Back in 2022 I wrote two articles on solar and wind-powered EVs. The former I said held promise, but the latter did not. However, the use of the wind to power land vehicles directly—as opposed to powering an EV–has a long history. I came across an 1878 …

Other Articles

You’ve heard it everywhere, or some variation of it. It’s never a contest claim, but an obvious truth, often leading into the meat of the sentence. “As EV growth stalls” or “In a market where consumers prefer hybrids to EVs.” The message is always clear: The EV revolution has burned out. Proceed to business as usual. There’s only one issue with that messaging: It is absolutely false. You’re being lied to. EV sales aren’t stalling here. In a “down year,” where growth has been slower than expected, EV sales are handily outpacing conventional car sales growth, both at home and abroad. The revolution is in full swing. It might just take a bit longer than anticipated. But “slower than expected growth” and “stalled progress” aren’t synonymous.

In recent months British net zero-sceptical newspapers have warned that the shift to EVs would “risk overwhelming the grid, and threaten catastrophic blackouts” when intermittent sun and wind fail to provide the necessary power. Another article claimed: “It won’t take an enemy power to put us all in the dark – just energy customers doing normal things on a normal winter’s evening.” Yet many of the people working in the electric car industry think these fears may be misplaced. They argue that the shift to electric cars offers an exciting – and potentially lucrative – chance to build an energy system that is smarter, as well as greener.

Accidents & Safety

I’ve been concerned about safely working with wind energy since 1976 when I nearly killed myself taking down a 1930s-era windcharger. While wind energy is an environmentally beneficial technology–and that’s the reason we need to use it–it can and has killed. Consequently, I’ve been tracking fatal accidents in wind energy since I wrote an obituary for a colleague, Terry Mehrkam, in 1981. For this reason, my books on wind energy have always included a section on safety.

California Worker Dies after Blade Falls Off Wind Machine

By

Paul Gipe

The Associated Press circulated a news item on 14 January 2019 about a field hand killed near Visalia when the blade of a “wind machine” fell off. See California orchard worker dies after 600-pound blade falls off wind machine.

Correction to the Death of Robert Skarski in Wind Power 2004

By

Paul Gipe

I’ve been alerted to an error in the second edition of Wind Power (2004): Renewable Energy for Home Farm and Business.

OSHA Investigating Worker Death at Iowa Wind Farm

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The worker has since been identified as Joseph Hill of Minnesota. Mitchell County Sheriff Greg Beaver said deputies responded to the site, and provided medical attention. The deputies determined that the accident was not a criminal matter.

OSHA investigating construction worker’s death at St. Ansgar wind farm

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Mitchell County Sheriff Greg Beaver said the fatal accident occurred about 1 p.m. Saturday while the worker was loading heavy equipment at Turtle Creek Wind Farm, which is under construction near St. Ansgar.

Iowa Construction Worker Dies at Turtle Creek Wind Farm

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An Iowa construction worker was killed in what authorities are calling an “industrial accident” in St. Ansgar, Iowa over the weekend.

Fatal crawler crane overturn

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A crawler crane operator has died in an incident at a wind farm in Poweshiek County, Iowa over the weekend.

Regular safety training could prevent wind farm deaths, study claims

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David Mcphee

Research published today by Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU) claims that wind farm technicians often struggle to recall key safety instructions.

What instances of attempted murder or significant violence have occurred against wind industry personnel?

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Michael Barnard

Recently a Dutch wind farm developer’s home was firebombed. Dutch Wind Developer Fire Bombed What other instances of violence against wind industry staff have occurred?

Bob Jans' Bmw I3 Destroyed After Fire Bombing.

Dutch Wind Developer Fire Bombed

By

Paul Gipe

Sometime around midnight 10-11 April the home of Bob Jans was firebombed in Assen, the Netherlands. Both Jans and his wife were home, asleep at the time.

Police probe Whitelee fatality

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Investigators are looking into the possibility that the man may have taken his own life, it is understood.

Tower Climbing Safety

Safety

In 2013 I pulled together some links to documents on safety relative to the wind industry. These topics went beyond simply tower climbing safety and safety at height and included work around rotating machinery and other common industrial hazards. Unfortunately, the industry has changed dramatically in the past decade. Most safety documents once freely available are now securely hidden by paywalls. Moreover, even the wind energy trade associations where these documents were once located have ceased to exist, merging with other renewable trade associations. Some of the British documents are still available and I’ve provide links to them. I found one public document on the off shore industry in the USA.

Europe

Great Britain

North America

USA

Contact the Clean Power Association.

Worker Health and Safety on Offshore Wind Farms, Transportation Research Board, 2012.

Canada

Contact the Canadian Renewable Energy Association.


Mortal Accident Summary

I no longer actively track deaths in the wind industry. However, I will update my data as it becomes available. Below is a presentation updating my statistics to 2020. Also below is a link to the original article. For a complete analysis see Chapter 17 in my most recent book Wind Energy for the Rest of Us.

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Note that the spreadsheet has six tabs. This is only the summary page and does not include all the data on the summary page.

My Deaths Database is publicly available. Simply ask for it.

History of Wind Power

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Denmark’s Agricco: History’s First Interconnected Wind Turbine

By

Paul Gipe

In 1919 the utility installed a wind turbine at Buddinge and connected it to its lines—a first worldwide, a full two decades before the Smith-Putnam machine in Vermont was connected to the grid.

Buchenwald’s Liberation and What It Says about the Development of Wind Energy

By

Paul Gipe

Today marks the liberation of the Buchenwald concentration camp in 1945 by the 6th armored division of the US Third Army. Buchenwald is significant for several reasons. 56,000 people died in the camp, some one-quarter of those imprisoned.

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Everything You Need to Know about Wind Energy Was Written in 1957!

By

Paul Gipe

In the research for my new book, Wind Energy for the Rest of Us, I came across several unsung heroes of wind energy development. One of those was French engineer Louis Vadot.

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New Photo of Anderson’s Charles E Miller’s Four-Blade Wind Turbine in 1926

By

Paul Gipe

The Madison County (Indiana) Historical Society was able to locate the photo that I’d seen on display in mid 2015 of Charles E Miller’s 1926 wind turbine in Anderson, Indiana.

Charles E Miller Tip Brake Jpg

Was Anderson’s Miller First with Pitchable Blade Tips for Wind Turbines?

By

Paul Gipe

Miller is practically unknown among historians for his contribution to wind energy technology. He could be an unsung Hoosier hero for his invention of the pitchable blade tip.

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French Water-Pumping Windmills and Éolienne Bollée

By

Paul Gipe

In the research for my forthcoming book, Wind Energy for the Rest of Us, I came across a lot of intriguing information about the development of wind energy. While fascinating, much of it is too far afield for one book on wind energy. So I am posting these items on my web site so they’re searchable–by me as well as others.

History of Wind Power in North America

History of Wind Power Internationally

Museums with Wind Exhibits

Museums often have extensive permanent collections and only display a small portion at any one time. Museums frequently change their exhibits and that is the case below. The museums noted here have all changed their exhibits since I last visited. Some have created “virtual” exhibits, and these I’ve noted.

North American Open-Air Museums

European Open-Air Museums

There’s nothing like walking among the operating windmills of Zaanse Schaans in the Zaan district of Noord Holland, or strolling among the vertically-jutting blade sculpture at the Folkecenter for Renewable Energy in Denmark to gain a sense of the importance of wind in European–and thus Western–culture. For the avid wind aficionado and the scholar alike, I strongly suggest putting one of the many open-air museums in Europe on your travel itinerary. Some we discovered by serendipity others we searched out. All were worth the effort.

Note that in most western European countries there are national “windmill” days where many of the historical windmills are open to the public. Many now include some modern wind turbines as well. Often the national windmill day is the second Saturday in May though this may vary by country. In Germany, Deutscher Mühlentag is held on Whit Monday or Pfingstmontag in German. In 2023 Whit Monday was 29 May.

  • Museum Park, Deutsches Technikmuseum Berlin, Germany displays a historic stage mill, a mechanical farm windmill, and a micro wind turbine.
  • Schloss Sanssouci Berlin displays a reconstructed stage or gallery windmill that has served the palace (Schloss) since 1787. It was a mill on this site that served in the famous legend of the Miller of Sanssouci who challenged kingly power.
  • Windmill Blade Expo at the Folkecenter for Renewable Energy in Jutland, Denmark.
  • Showroom for historical Danish wind turbines at the Folkecenter for Renewable Energy in Jutland, Denmark–An extensive collection of wind turbine drive trains from the early days of Danish wind power.
  • Poul la Cour Museum–The museum is situated in the historical buildings where Poul la Cour, affectionately called the Danish Edison by Danes, conducted his research into wind energy and hydrogen storage. The site is the cradle of modern wind energy.
  • Energimuseet Vindkraft–The museums’ open-air exhibits include the original nacelle from the famed Gedser mill designed by Johannes Juul, an erect Riisager machine from the rebirth of Danish wind energy in the late 1970s-early 1980s, a cut-away wind turbine blade and more.
  • Frilandsmuseet–The Open Air Museum north of Copenhagen is one of the largest and oldest in the world. Spread across 86 acres of land the museum houses more than 50 farms, mills and houses from the period 1650-1950.
  • Museummolen Schermerhorn–Open air museum of the polder mill on the Schermer polder in Noord Holland (north of Amsterdam).
  • Germania (molen)–Platform grain grinding mill in the province of Groningen, the Netherlands. One of the more than 1,000 windmills in the Netherlands that are periodically open to the public.
  • Internationales Muhlenmuseum–in Gifhorn, Niedersachsen, Germany has 13 different windmills on display, including a Greek sail windmill.
  • World Heritage Site of Kinderdijk–The nineteen windmills of Kinderdijk illustrate the way the Dutch have used windmills to drain the polders that have made the Netherlands what it is today. Kinderdijk is most likely the world’s oldest wind farm and was in use into the 1950s.
  • De Vereniging Zaanse Molen–No tourist trip to the Netherlands is complete without a visit to Zaanse Schans and the working windmills of the Zaan district. The Society of Zaan Mills was founded in 1925, beginning with the restoration of the oil mill De Zoeker. Three years later, they opened the Mill Museum at Zaanse Schans. Now, nearly a century later, the Society possesses 12 industrial windmills, representing an important part of Dutch cultural heritage and to this day still define the Zaan skyline.
  • Museumdorf Cloppenburg is south of Oldenburg in Niedersachsen, Germany.
  • Nederlands Openluchtmuseum–Open Air Museum in Arnhem, Gelderland, the Netherlands.
  • Mola – het Provinciaal Molencentrum–East Flanders windmill museum in Belgium with four restored windmills.
  • Wind Energy Museum Norfolk Great Britain–The museum is closed in 2023. The collection depicts the evolution of polder drainage in what’s called the “Broads.” The technology for the mills and how to use them was imported from the Netherlands.
  • Deutsches Windkraftmuseum–Begun in 1997, the museum seeks to preserve some of the early electricity-generating wind turbines from the 1980s and 1990s in northern Germany. While the exhibits focus on German development of wind technology, the museum includes a Lagerwey, an early Dutch machine, early Danish wind turbines, and some American-made wind turbines as well, including a Kenetech drive train and a Bergey small wind turbine.
  • Allemolens.NL–Web site listing the location of every windmill in the Netherlands from the smallest mechanical wind pump to the giant polder draining windmills and to the multi-story stage windmills for grinding grain. They even include a few modern wind turbines as well. In Dutch.
  • Dutch Windmill and Watermill Database–Working historic windmills and watermills of the Netherlands with a searchable database and interactive map. The map identifies individual windmills and when they are open to visitors. The home page is in English, map data is in Dutch but understandable to English-speakers.
  • La route des moulins–Interactive map and list of windmills and watermills by region with a description of the specific mill in French. Includes a description of the Centre Molinologique.
  • Deutsche Gesellschaft für Mühlenkunde und Mühlenerhaltung–The German society for the preservation of wind and water mills. They too have an interactive map of the mills throughout the country. The map can be searched by town, village, or state. The detailed data includes the type of mill and its construction.

Other Open-Air Museums

  • Fred Turner Museum in Loeriesfontein, South Africa displays 27 water-pumping windmills.
  • Morawa District Historical Society and Museum–The small rural town of Morawa with its museum is approximately 400 kilometres north of the state capital Perth, in the northern wheatbelt of Western Australia. The Morawa Museum’s collection of Australian made and imported windmills consists of over 50 different models in various states of restoration.
  • Penong Windmill Museum–Penong, South Australia, includes the Comet, Australian-made, railroad water pumping windmill.
  • De Molen, Dutch Windmill–Foxton, New Zealand. De Molen is a full size 17th century replica Dutch windmill.
A Windmill Near Brighton By John Constable

Learning to love monsters: Windmills were once just machines on the land but now seem delightfully bucolic. Could wind turbines win us over too?

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External Source

Yet perceptions of windmills have not been uniformly idyllic. Since they first appeared on the landscape of medieval Europe, windmills represented an imposition of the technological on the pastoral. They were, in the phrase of the wind energy author Paul Gipe, ‘machines in the garden’, straddling the boundary of the agrarian and mechanical.

Multilingual Lexicon By Paul Gipe

200 Term Multilingual Lexicon Posted to Wind-Works.org

By

Paul Gipe

I’ve uploaded a Multilingual Lexicon of more than 200 terms to a Google spreadsheet. The lexicon describes terms used in wind energy in six different languages: English, Dansk, Deutsch, Español, Français, and Italiano.

Smith Putnam Patent Drawings.

Glossary of Wind Energy Terminology

By

Paul Gipe

This 30,000 word glossary was written by Paul Gipe and Bill Canter in the late-1990s. I’ve added the glossary to my web site for both its historical content—many of the terms were in use during the 1980s and 1990s—and as a reference for the thousands of newcomers to the wind industry since it was first published.

Aeolusrace2008 1x1200x800

Wind-Powered Vehicles: Is this a Thing?

By

Paul Gipe

Yes it is. Back in 2022 I wrote two articles on solar and wind-powered EVs. The former I said held …

James Blyth University Of Strathclyde

The Scots engineer who pioneered the wind turbine

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External Source

When James Blyth created what many believe was the world’s first wind turbine in 1887, villagers dismissed it as the “work of the devil”. The huge structure at Blyth’s family home in the Aberdeenshire village of Marykirk was built with four cloth sails and generated enough power to light 10 bulbs along with a small lathe. It is said that he offered to light the streets of the village with his electricity but the offer was shunned. Blyth’s vision of a future powered by wind only started to be realised many decades after his death

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Explanation for FloWind Blade Failures by an Eyewitness

By

Paul Gipe

Because of my critical articles on Vertical-Axis Wind Turbines, Wind Harvest’s Kevin Wolf contacted me with background on what failed …

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