News & Articles on History of Wind Power

This page was prompted by a technical question about early electricity-generating wind turbines in the United States. The question followed a similar question about “who was the first” to interconnect a wind turbine with an electricity network. There is a lot of confusion internationally about both subjects.

The history of wind energy is a broad subject and many have written about it. I’ve pulled together a list of sources, books, links, and museums that I know about. This list is far from comprehensive. If anyone wants to add to this list or edit this list, please do so.

A number of the entries below are reviews I’ve written of books that include the history of wind energy. The original book can usually be reached from the review. Other news items are relevant to the history of wind turbine development.

History of Wind Power Large Wind Small Wind Wind & the Environment Accidents & Safety

Was the Zaanstreek the Birthplace of the Industrial Revolution?

The Zaanstreek or the district on the Zaan river in the Dutch province of Noord Holland once contained the largest …

Mühlenflügel und Wasserrad

Traditional Windmills in Germany at the turn of the 19th Century

In trying to find the original sources for my table on the number of traditional European windmills I’ve come across …

European Traditional Windmills & Windmill Liberation

While cleaning off my desk top, closing folders, and deleting files from our long project on the history of modern …

Nansen’s Arctic Expedition: One of the First Uses of Wind-Electric Generation

As part of our research into the history of wind turbines, Erik Möllerström and I came across the story of Norwegian explorer Fridtjof Nansen and his expedition on the Fram.

History of Conventional Wind Turbines Published—Finally

The first installment of an overview of the history of conventional wind turbines was published by Swedish academic Erik Möllerström and myself 15 August. Part 1 appears in Wind Engineering, an imprint of Sage Journals. The second part will appear later this year.

July 1887: James Blyth Harnesses the Wind for Electricity

Nearly a century before anyone thought seriously about wind-powered electricity, a Scotsman named James Blyth built the world’s first wind turbine in his front yard. “When a good breeze was blowing, I stored as much in half a day as gave me light for four evenings,” he wrote.