A brief history of wind power
To the Editor:
The first known industrial application of a windmill was in Persia in 7th century AD and this turbine was used for grinding grain and pumping water. Fast forward almost 2000 years.
The first windmill that was able to produce electricity was invented in1887 by Prof. James Blyth in Scotland. A few months later, Charles Brush, emulating Blyth’s design, created the first wind-powered turbine that generated electricity in the US. It produced 12 kW of power. And this type of electric production was abandoned as it was unreliable at best.
Fast forward 87 years and we find …our tax dollars at work from 1974 through the mid-1980s the United States government worked with wind industry to advance the technology and enable large commercial wind turbines. A series of NASA wind turbines were developed under a program to create a utility-scale wind turbine industry in the U.S., with funding from the National Science Foundation and later the United States Department of Energy (DOE).
By the end of 1986, about 6,700 wind turbines, mostly less than 100 kW, had been installed at Altamont, at a cost of about $1 billion, (over $2 billion adjusted for inflation ) and generated about 550 million kWh/year at a cost of .55 per KWH (adjusted for inflation that’s 1.16 per KWH).
Fast forward nearly 40 years, and we find our tax dollars are still being wasted on this form of energy that has been time and time again a proven failure! In 2011, the U.S. generated 121 TWh, 27.7% of the world's wind generation, with 19.7% of the world's installed wind capacity only about 3.3 % of the U.S. electricity. The U.S. Department of Energy’s 2008 report 20% wind energy by 2030.
In order to achieve this, however, significant advances in cost, performance and reliability are needed, (something they have been able to do in over 125 years ) based on a 2011 report from a coalition of researchers from universities, industry, and government, supported by the Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future. And the latest extension of its tax credit will cost about $12 billion over 10 years, according to congressional estimates.
The incentive is so powerful that they're building (wind generation) whether it's needed or not," said David Brown, Exelon's senior vice president for federal government affairs.