The Wind Power Book

"The Wind Power Book" provides the information you'll need to determine whether wind energy can trim your use of conventional sources of power.

| September/October 1981

Text and charts from The Wind Power Book by Jack Park (copyright © 1981) are reprinted by permission of the author and Cheshire Books.  

Harnessing the wind is a fantastically appealing idea. Anyone who's stepped out into a howling autumn blow knows instinctively that there's tremendous power in the movement of air, but the would-be windplant owner must decide whether his or her area has enough wind year round to justify the expense of such a system.  

Windplant designer and builder Jack Park—owner of Helion Inc., president of the American Wind Energy Association, and author—has addressed that subject in a new text: The Wind Power Book. In the opinion of MOTHER EARTH NEWS' technical staff, it is the clearest, most understandable explanation yet of the factors that anyone must consider before either purchasing or constructing a wind energy system.  

In fact, we were sufficiently impressed by the book to secure the right to reprint a portion of the volume's introduction ...which we hope will help to give everyone who reads it a sound understanding of the whys and wherefores of wind power.   

The Uses of Wind Power

Today, the wind can be harnessed to provide some or all of the power for many useful tasks such as pumping water, generating electricity, and heating a house or barn. Let's examine a few of these more closely.

Pumping water is a primary use of wind power. Daniel Halliday and others began manufacturing multi-bladed windmills for this purpose in the mid-nineteenth century. Halliday's work coincided with advancements in the iron water-pump industry. Soon the combination of wind machines and iron water-pumps made it possible to pump deep wells and provide the water for steam locomotives chugging across the North American plains. The demand for wind-powered deep-well pumps created a booming wind power industry at the turn of the century. Sears sold those machines for about $15, or $25 for a tower.

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