Why wind energy?

Mankind quickly realized it was possible to convert wind into motion. The Egyptians already sailed over the Nile six thousand years ago. The first windmill was also in Egypt, in the first century AD. From the twelfth century, windmills were used on a large scale in Western Europe, among other things for grinding grain, sawing wood and pumping water. The latter even gave the Netherlands its distinctive polder landscape. But in the late eighteenth century, the steam engine was invented and the windmills gradually disappeared from the landscape.

Wind energy

With the rise of electricity, the first - mostly private - initiatives to generate electricity using wind also arose. At the time, this was only profitable at locations without a power grid. The first modern windmill was built in Germany in 1957: a wind turbine with a horizontal axis, aerodynamically shaped fiberglass blades with angle adjustment and a power capacity of 100 kW.

Oil crisis

In the early 1970’s (Club of Rome, oil crisis) it became clear that fossil energy sources were not inexhaustible and that alternatives had to be sought. This increased the attention for wind energy. In 1977 the first European megawatt wind turbine was built in Denmark. In the following years, several countries started generating wind energy on a larger scale. In the early 1990’s, wind turbines worldwide had a power capacity of 2 gigawatts, by 2003 this had already grown to 31 gigawatts. The advance of wind energy would not stop in the years that followed. In 2019, 650 gigawatts of wind power was installed worldwide. This was an increase of 20 percent compared to the previous year, mainly due to China, the United States, the United Kingdom, India and Spain. The largest wind energy capacity is in China, the US, Germany, India and Spain.