I have always been interested in wind power. May be it is my Dutch heritage that makes me appreciate windmills and sailboats. I have always enjoyed the challenge of using the fickle winds too propel me to where I want to go.
No machinery noises no exhaust fumes just the constant music of wind and waves. Sailing is a pleasure.
I even enjoyed tying up at the fuel dock next to a stink boat the same size as my sailboat. My fill up was just twelve gallons. The typical power boater had to pay out a hundred dollars or more for his fill up. My 12 gallons lasted me all season just to maneuver in and out of harbors. The power boater will be filling up again next weekend.
Sailing is an energy saver as long as you are willing to go at a pace set by the wind and tides. It takes skill to trick the shifting winds into propelling you toward your goal.
Wind is a form of solar power. The heating and cooling of the surface of the earth as it turns a new face to the sun causes the air to move and flow.
Old style windmills work like sailboats stuck on land. The top of the tower is turned, by muscle power, to face into the wind and the sails adjusted to capture the wind’s energy. Many Dutch windmills were used to pump water over the dikes into the North Sea. But, they get their name from milling wheat into flour.
Most modern day windmills look like over sized airplane propellers. There is no skill needed in setting their sails. They make electric power as long as there is a strong wind blowing.
The time of high wind may not match the time of high electrical demand. Perhaps this can be solved by pumping water up hill into the backwaters of a dam when the wind blows. Then use water wheels or hydroelectric generators to make power when the demand is high. I have seen one place where this is done now, but without wind power.
I do not like the way new windmills look. But, clean electric power is needed. Just do not block the view of the water.
Last weekend, while we were driving our grandson to the beach, we passed a wind farm under construction. Modern windmills had been planted among the sugar beets giving the farmer two crops from the same land. If electricity can be a homegrown crop, maybe clean plug in electric cars will soon be on the road.
Some day we may see old style windmills with sails made of solar panels, functional and nice to look at.
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