Wind Energy Comes of Age

By Paul Gipe

John Wiley & Sons, Inc New York (1995)

Never again will wind energy be seen as the domain of a disheveled miller with corn flour in his hair, furling the cloth sails on his wooden windmill. This archaic image has given way to one of trained professionals tending their sleek aero-electric generators by computer, according to a new book.

Wind Energy Comes of Age is out of print. Some excerpts from the book can be found on this web site. After nearly two decades, I felt it was time to pull the book off the market.–Paul Gipe, 2013

Wind Energy Comes of Age by Paul Gipe chronicles wind energy’s progress from its rebirth during the oil crises of the 1970s through a troubling adolescence in California’s mountain passes in the 1980s to its maturation on the plains of northern Europe in the 1990s. Gipe argues that wind energy is no longer an alternative source of energy. He cites improvements in the performance, reliability, and cost effectiveness of modern wind turbines to support his contention that wind energy has come of age as a commercial technology for generating electricity.

The book debunks the myths that wind energy is land-intensive, that wind turbines are inherently ugly, that wind energy will never make a difference, and that wind energy is unreliable. Wind Energy Comes of Age also documents wind energy’s value in reducing air pollution, its positive energy balance, its contribution to meeting residential energy needs, and its effect on employment and tourism.

The 536-page book is part of John Wiley & Sons prestigious series on sustainable design. The series includes the award winning “Gray World Green Heart: Technology, Nature and the Sustainable Landscape” by Robert Thayer and the ground-breaking “Design with Nature” by renowned landscape architect Ian McHarg. Illustrated with more than 170 original line drawings, photographs, and charts and more than 70 tables, Wind Energy Comes of Age includes an extensive appendix and a forward by Chris Flavin of WorldWatch Institute.

Wind Energy Comes of Age (ISBN 0-471-10924-X) is available from John Wiley & Sons while supplies last by visiting Portions of the book are also now available on line at Google Books.

  • Contents of Wind Energy Comes of Age
  • Topics in Wind Energy Comes of Age
  • Illustrations in Wind Energy Comes of Age
  • What Others Have Said About Wind Energy
  • Tables in Wind Energy Comes of Age
  • Corrections to Wind Energy Comes of Age


  • Measures of Productivity
  • Wind Turbine Rating
  • Decommissioning and Dismantling Wind Turbines and Wind Plants
  • Erosion Gullies in the Tehachapi Pass: An Example of Improper Wind Development
  • Public Safety and Setbacks
  • Energy Balance of Wind Turbines
  • Wind Turbine Tower Trends
  • Design as if People Matter: Aesthetic Guidelines for the Wind Industry
  • Tilting at Windmills: Public Opinion Toward Wind Energy