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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 I’ve added the glossary to my web site for both its historical content—many of the terms were in use during the 1980s and 1990s—and as a reference for the thousands of newcomers to the wind industry since it was first published.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.

Latest News

Worker dies in Tarifa after being trapped in a wind turbine

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External Source

A worker lost his life on Friday, 28 July, in Tarifa (Cadiz) after being trapped in a wind turbine, according to the emergency services. The event occurred at around midday, when the 112 emergency telephone operators handled a call from a worker who was trapped in the hub (the part of the machine where a shaft is supported and rotates) of a turbine, at a height of 130 metres. The turbine was located at kilometre 90 of the N-340. Emergency services, including a helicopter ambulance, the Guardia CIvil, fire brigade and police were deployed to the scene. The health services on the scene were only able to confirm the death of the worker. No further information has been released on how this incident occurred.

Latest News

‘Extreme caution’ as Hull’s first large wind turbine to be taken down following major blaze

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External Source

The turbine was built back in 2008 along the banks of the River Hull. Standing at an astonishing 125m, it has been a part of the Hull skyline for over 15 years.

Viking Shetland wind farm: Man dies at Upper Kergord construction site

By

Jody Harrison

A 23-year-old man has died after he was injured at a windfarm construction site in Shetland.

Guilty plea by Kerry windfarm firm over the death of employee in Sligo landslide

By

Paul Deering

Patrick McCaffrey (37) from Rossinver, Co Leitrim died at Derrysallagh wind farm

Probe launched after death at Austrian wind farm

By

Craig Richard

Service provider dies after falling around 100 metres while installing Enercon turbine at a wind farm in eastern Austria

Dismissal of Charges Sought in Death of Skookumchuck Wind Farm Worker

By

Emily Fitzgerald

Three of the five codefendants charged with manslaughter for their alleged involvement in the death of a Chehalis man who died in January 2020 when a trench collapsed during construction of the Skookumchuck Wind Farm have filed motions asking Lewis County Superior Court to dismiss all charges against them.

Firms fined £900,000 over Ayrshire wind farm worker’s death

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Two firms have been fined nearly £900,000 over the death of a security worker left in freezing conditions at a wind farm in East Ayrshire.

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Wind—the Breath of Life or the Kiss of Death: Analysis of Wind Energy Fatalities

By

Paul Gipe

Presentation to Winterwind 2021 21 April on a Comparison of Wind’s Fatalities to that of Other Industries. Wind energy’s hazards, like its appearance on the landscape, are readily apparent. Wind energy hides no latent killers, no black lung, for example. When wind kills, it does so directly and with gruesome effect.

Family of Chehalis Man Killed at Wind Farm Site Settles Wrongful Death Claim for $12 Million

By

Eric Rosane

The family of a Chehalis wind farm worker who died last year while on the job has settled a wrongful death claim for $12 million after filing suit in King County Superior Court.

Worker falls to death inside wind turbine tower in California

By

Leigh Collins

Mario Contreras Jr was working for Site Constructors Inc at an unidentified project near Palm Springs

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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

Reaping the Wind: How Mechanical Wizards, Visionaries, and Profiteers Helped Shape Our Energy Future by Peter Asmus

By

Paul Gipe

Timing is everything. And Peter Asmus couldn’t have better timed the release of his book about the rise and fall …

L’électricité éolienne de la Belle Epoque à EDF (French Wind Energy from the Belle Epoque to EDF)

By

Etienne Rogier

Introduction to all the great names of French wind energy, including Georges Darrieus, Louis Vadot, Louis Constantin, the Duke de Goyon, and Laboratoire Eiffel.

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Wind Energy in America: A History by Robert Righter

By

Paul Gipe

“The free benefit of the wind ought not be denied to any man.”

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The Land of the Living: The Danish Folk High Schools and Denmark’s Non-Violent Path to Modernization by Steven Borish

By

Paul Gipe

The book, Land of the Living, is based on Borish’s study of the Danish folkehøjskol system in the early 1980s. His book is an articulate examination of Danish culture. His theme is that Denmark could — should — be used as a model for the post modern development of the USA in what he calls, paraphrasing E.F. Schumacher, “development with a human face.”

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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