Windmills and other types of wind turbines come in many sizes and shapes. The blades on larger windmills can have a diameter of more than 120 yards (109.7 m), which is the length of an American football field, including both end zones. In 2008, the world’s largest wind turbine was installed in Germany. The Enercon E-126 has a rotor diameter of 413 feet (125.9 m) and has the capacity to produce about 20 million kilowatts per year.
More facts about windmills:
- Simple windmills were in use as early as 200 B.C. in parts of the world such as China and Persia. The wind power harnessed by the windmills was used to grind grains into flour for use in baking breads and other recipes.
- By the 11th century, the Dutch were using windmills as the means of creating energy to drain marshes and lakes to create habitable land. During the 19th century, people in various parts of the United States used the same basic design of the Dutch windmill to pump water into irrigation systems for farmland.
- The use of windmills to generate electricity began to diminish in the United States during the middle of the 20th century. Resurgence of interest in windmills and turbines to harness wind energy increased during the early years of the 21st century as interest in the development of alternatives to fossil fuels became more common in the U.S. and other nations.