Windmills – Then and Now

Windmills – Then and Now

 Windmills have been around for centuries performing many different functions. The early ones that you and I remember seeing on our grandparents’ farms and ranches were used to pump water for livestock and human consumption as well as maybe turning a grist mill to grind grain.

The modern day windmills are referred to as wind turbines. Hundreds of these turbines, known as wind farms, now dot the American landscape and are used to generate electricity. Unlike the early windmills, the wind turbines provide a monetary income for the landowners. In addition to generating electricity, wind turbines have also generated controversies. One such controversy is the deadly effect they have on birds and the bat population. It is thought that many bat fatalities at wind farm facilities are due to the bats colliding with the huge blades of the wind turbines. The blade tips can reach speeds of 132 to 182 mph. Another reason for bat fatalities is due to barotrauma, which is an injury due to suddenly altered air pressure caused by the fast moving blades of the turbines.  Bat often fly into the disturbed air space causing barotraumas.

There is one common ingredient needed by windmills and wind turbines to full fill their functions.       WIND!




3 Wind Turbine

4 Wind Turbine

6 thoughts on “Windmills – Then and Now”

  1. Michael, I’ve heard about those dangers with the wind turbines. When in Iowa last March we saw miles and miles of such turbines in fields all over the place. Haven’t decided if it is a good idea or not – certainly isn’t to the bird population. I love the first picture. Reminds me of Iowa!

  2. I love windmills!! Yes, even the shiny new ones,,, they look SO strong, I think we should be using more for the energy of today!! Is there a reason they could not replace oil and gas? I realize that that is blasphemy for a Texan to say…but we could become leaders in this “clean energy”…

  3. I prefer the windmills of yesteryears. I have mixed feelings about the new ones. There is also a problems in California with the killing of Bald Eagles in the bay area. I always enjoy your blog and pictures and look forward to the next one.

  4. What a wonderful contrast for all of us, to see our past and future of harnessing wind. Looks like we’ve come a long way, yet we still have so far to go…

  5. What will happen when the bat population is decreased? Will we have a increase of insects on the crops, and all the wheat grown will be eaten before it is harvested.
    Can you send me a copy of the first windmill picture. I would like to try to make a watercolor painting. I swear no bats will be harmed in my watercoloring.
    Hope everything is good on the coast… Are are you in New Mexico now?

  6. Loved the windmill thing ! It’s amazing how people are becoming “windmill farmers” in areas where the wind blows extensively. They get $$$ for this, too!!! (I like $$$).

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