History Of Wind Energy
The wind has been a source of energy to humanity for centuries. The history of wind energy is very important because, throughout history, the power of the wind has been used to provide mechanical work to grind grain, pump water and the like. Inside the continent of Europe, you can find large tower windmills throughout the continent. When the 19th and early 20th centuries came along, mills used to pump water dotted the western American landscape. In the late nineteenth century, as the new phenomenon of electricity became more widespread, some forward thinkers began to envision using windmills to produce electricity. The famous scientist Lord Kelvin, in a lecture in 1881, firmly urged that electricity derived from the widely available energy found in the wind .
In 1888, the eccentric Charles Brush was the first to show that a large windmill could be used to generate electricity . With World War One came the need to design better propellers for fighter planes. This new technology was then applied to wind turbines to make the production of electricity from the wind more efficiently. By the end of the 1920’s many companies had developed small wind turbines that were mainly used to provide electricity for individual rural homes that were out of reach of the still-developing central grids in the cities. The most notable of these models was Jacob’s model, invented by Marcellus Jacobs in the 1920’s. His wind turbine was the first widely used, efficient, low maintenance turbine used to generate electricity. They sold successfully well into the 1950’s .
How Was Wind Used In The Past
Besides powering individual rural homes, not much wind power on a broad scale during this time. It could not compete with the abundance, reliability, and ease of use of electricity produced by fossil fuels. With the 1930’s came to the Great Depression and with the new administration under Roosevelt came his New Deal policies and the first piece of legislation to affect the development of wind power significantly. In 1935, Roosevelt established the Rural Electrification Administration (REA), that got charged with the task of connecting rural locations to central power grids. In the process of connecting farms and rural homes to centralized power production, the REA made individual wind turbines unnecessary, and the once familiar sight of small wind generators powering farms became more and rarer .
History Of Wind Energy – Development
The development of wind power for widespread use slowed down until the mid-1970’s except for a few individuals’ efforts. In the 1940’s a large turbine was built to produce AC power by Palmer Putnam. It worked successfully for a while but eventually broke down. At the time there were many advantages and disadvantages of wind energy. Around the same time, Federal Power Commission engineer Percy Thomas worked on the design of a large wind power plant system. His design was solid, but he was unable to get funding from Congress to build the turbines . Not until the 1970’s would federal funding be available for research into wind technology.
Scramble For Wind Energy And Alternative Energy Sources
In 1973, OPEC enforced an oil embargo, which sent the price of oil sky high and sent the United States scrambling to find new, alternative sources of energy. In 1974, Congress passed the Solar Research Energy Act, which established the Solar Energy Research Institute (SERI). SERI was to work with government agencies, academics, and industry to develop new alternative solar energy sources. A significant amount of the research conducted by SERI went into the development of wind power. From 1973 to 1988, 380 million dollars was spent designing, building and testing large prototype wind turbines .
The first generation of wind turbines built by the program, named MOD0, MOD0A, and MOD1, were up and running but quickly failed. Within 1976, the most tested prototype, the MOD2, was built and tested. It also had design flaws, but operated for several years and provided engineers with many valuable data. A handful of other large prototypes were built and tested, as well as several smaller models in that time. By the mid-1980’s the program had been unsuccessful in developing an extensive, reliable wind power system. The program enjoyed a large budget under Jimmy Carter, but under Reagan’s administration, the lack of a safe design combined with once again the low price of oil, funding for the project dried up.
History Of Wind Energy – Laws And Developments
Another piece of legislation that opened the door for private development of wind power was the National Energy Act of 1978. One of the provisions of the act was the Public Utility Regulatory Policy Act (PURPA). PURPA required that utility companies purchase electricity from small energy producers. This act made making a profit from wind power a possibility for many investors. Many cases, small to medium-sized wind turbines were set to provide electricity for a home or business. Extra electricity got sold to the utility company, and the utility company was there to produce electricity should the wind falter. Utility companies met this with mixed reactions. 
Further legislation to help the development and use of wind power came when tax credits were established in 1981 to encourage investment in wind technology. This tax credit, along with state legislation supporting wind power development, led to California having the most wind energy development in the 1970’s and ’80’s. While the federal program failed to produce large-scale turbines, several private Dutch companies developed reliable medium scale turbines. Thousands of these Dutch turbines were put in place in California and began producing fair amounts of electricity. The tax credits expired in 1986 however, and except for California, investors lost interest in wind power, and development in wind energy and turbines stalled again in history.
History Of Wind Energy – Public Interest In Renewable Energy
Inside the late 1990’s and early 2000’s the history of wind energy changed once again, as energy prices increased and concerns about the environment grew, interest in wind turbine technology was revived. In the 1992 Energy Policy Act, tax credits started once again for utilities that utilized wind power. More recently, these tax incentives were extended in the 2005 Energy Policy Act but not in the 2007 Energy Independence and Security Act, both enacted by President George Bush. More legislation that will further the development of wind power has been adopted already by President Obama. Included in the economic recovery legislation passed in February 2009 are measures to encourage and subsidize the development of wind energy and other renewable energy sources.
While the development of wind energy, a now one of the best renewable energy sources had a slow start, the issues of energy independence, global climate change, and pollution make wind power an increasingly attractive option. Already it is producing large amounts of electricity throughout the country. Without a doubt, wind power is sure to have an ever-growing role in America’s energy production.
 Righter, Robert W. “Wind Energy in America.” Norman, OK. University of Oklahoma Press. 1996. pg 35-36
 Ibid. pg 42-50,  pg 90-99,  pg 111-118,  pg 128-145,  pg 157-158,  pg 198-201
“American Wind Energy Association.” 4 April 2009. lt; http://www.awea.org/
Dodge, Darrel M. “Illustrated History of Wind Power Development.” 4 April 2009.