For several thousand years, mankind has put the wind to work in powering their sails and turning windmills to grind grains. It was an obvious power source in turning turbines to generate electricity and, this was developed in the late 1800’s. In Scotland in 1887 the first windmill used to generate electricity was built by Prof James Blyth of Anderson College in the yard of his summer cottage. He used it to recharge accumulators and power the lighting in the house making this the first home in the world to be powered by the wind. However, in 1888 Charles F. Brush built a wind turbine to generate electricity in Cleveland, Ohio that measured 56 ft. In diameter mounted of a 60 ft tall tower. It produced 12 KW and could power 100 incandescent light bulbs, 3 arch lamps and several electric motors in Bruch’s Lab.
As wind was not always reliable, wind power became more of subsidy throughout the following century and, relied upon for electricity mostly in remote places where conventional means of supplying power were not available. In areas where wind is usually strong, it became apparent that building wind farms would make good economic sense and a viable way to generate most of the electricity needed. Soon integrated power stations were developed to regulate distribution and compensate for surges and drops in output when the wind was not blowing.
Today there are wind farms around the globe producing a total of 432,000 Megawatts from over 200,000 turbines. This is only expected to increase exponentially over the next few years. In the U.S. wind generated power more than quadrupled from 2000 to 2006. China in 2010 surpassed the U.S. in wind power production. They built the largest wind farm in the world capable of generating 6,000 MW. With no waste by-product, no harmful impact on the environment and being cost effective to produce, wind power has a strong future.