The Rise of Modern Wind Energy and International Reviews and Developments
A long time ago one of my teachers told me: 'don't look at the past, look at the future'. But experience has taught me that sometimes it's a good idea to look back before thinking about the future. Over the last 40 years wind energy has grown from being a minor niche industry to a major player in energy supply, so perhaps it is an appropriate moment to look at the industry's history, especially while some of the pioneers are still here to tell the story.
By Frits Ogg, Renewable Energy Consultant, the Netherlands
'Wind Power for the World' is the collective name given to two volumes (out of five) from Pan Stanford Publishing's series of books on renewable energy. The two volumes have been edited and part-written by the team of Wolfgang Pfalz, Preben Maegaard and Anna Krenz. The first volume, The Rise of Modern Wind Energy, gives an overview of the past 40 years of development in the sector and the second volume, International Reviews and Developments, which has been written by some 56 experts in the field, looks at the current state of the industry and discusses possible future developments.
The 676-page Rise of Modern Wind Energy starts with a section discussing the usefulness and necessity of wind energy; this is followed by an overview of the last 40 years of wind energy development written by Jos Beurskens of ECN in the Netherlands. The next few chapters describe the development of the industry in Denmark and Germany, a section which benefits greatly from input by Preben Maegaard who was for many years director of the Folkecenter in Denmark, and who was intimately involved in the development of wind energy throughout this time. Detailed in these chapters are the history of prototypes, revolutionary concepts such as direct drive, the accompanying breakthroughs in power electronics and the subsequent feed-in of these new developments, which led to their increasing acceptance in countries such as the USA and China.
This book is not a comprehensive account of the modern development of wind energy and focuses particularly on Denmark, Germany and China, reflecting the considerable knowledge and experience of the editors and authors. However, those three countries have been in the forefront of the wind energy revolution and many of the innovations that made the modern industry possible happened in one of these countries first.
The 704-page second volume, International Reviews and Developments, provides an overview of the current state of the industry and some of the challenges that face it. The problems of continuing reliance on fossil fuels are discussed and the advantages of wind power are rehearsed. There are a number of chapters looking at the position today in over 20 different countries, spanning all five continents and all stages of development. These chapters do much to throw light on the uphill struggle it has been in many places to get wind power accepted. The importance of key people and policies in the many different countries makes interesting reading. Other chapters look at topics such as public ownership, popular acceptance and the foundation of the World Wind Energy Association (WWEA). The book concludes with a look into the future. This second volume has been written with a non-technical audience in mind and the science and technology of wind power has been kept to a minimum.
In conclusion, then, if you are not already well acquainted with the recent history of wind power, and you want a good survey of the industry's current state and prospects, these two volumes are an ideal place to start. Even if you are reasonably familiar with the industry you will find much to interest you here, and probably some information that you didn't know, so these books can be recommended to everybody.
Wind Power for the World: The Rise of Modern Wind Energy
Wind Power for the World: International Reviews and Developments