What can the wind be used for?

When Christopher Columbus set sail in 1492, he did so with the aid of the kinetic energy held within the wind. Sailors, merchants, and explorers have long relied upon the wind in their journeys. Ships represent the largest wind machines ever built. 19th century sailing vessels could harness as much as 10,000 horsepower from the wind.

Wind has also been used since the 7th century to power mills used in grinding grain. www.foodfit.com/healthy/healthyGrains.asp#wheat


In 15th century Holland, wind power was used to saw timber, process wool, and grind spices. Around the middle of the 19th century, farmers and ranchers began using the wind to pump water for their cattle and crops using mechanisms like the one shown in the photograph below.


By 1890, the energy in the wind was being put to work in generating electricity. Though ships, mills, and wind pumps yet exist, mainly as items of historical interest, wind turbines used in generating electricity represent the primary use of wind power today. Both small landowners seeking self-sufficiency and commercial interests seeking profits use wind turbines on various scales to meet their varying needs.

But not all that wish to utilize wind power may do so. A prerequisite of proper weather conditions exists.

And so we ask, what conditions are necessary to support wind power?