Windmills: Powerful tools for renewable energy

Ever wonder how that water gets to the farm and the animals there. Ever wonder how the grain in your cereal box, pasta, or bread gets there. Ever wonder what that big tower with spinning blades on a field in a farm is for.

Those mechanical towers are called windmills. According to Merriam-Webster dictionary, windmill is

“a mill or machine operated by the wind usually acting on oblique vanes or sails that radiate from a horizontal shaft; especially: a wind-driven water pump or electric generator.”

In turn, windmills helped in the process of food production and water pumping, which were essential aspects of farming.

One of the essential functions of windmills is as mill grinder for grains. To grind the grains harvested by farmers, a grinding stone was adhered to a shaft. This stone was used to grind the grains into flour and other materials. But electric powered machineries later replaced windmill grain grinders.

Another important function of a windmill in farming was and still is pumping water. Within 1850 and 1970, water-pumping windmills were widely used by farmers. As wind occurs naturally in plains of farms, the multi-bladed turbine on top of the tower gathers its force. This wind power is converted to energy, which travels through rods down to a cylindrical pump. Hence, this pump moves the water to reservoirs for consumption and other uses. This method of wind pump is still in used today in many rural areas in the United States, Australia, and Southern Africa. Many of these places don’t have power lines installed or it’s too expensive to have electricity. For these communities, windmills provide a necessary renewable energy source.

Wind can power many unthinkable machines that can help in everyday life. And these ways of living are still in used today by those communities that lack electrical power. As we feel the breezes in our faces when wind blows by, we may want to think that wind is more than a science effect. It’s a natural aspect of living that can provide alternate ways of energy as it was observed by past historical events. In fact, water pumping is still in used today. And wind turbines are still in effect to provide clean renewable energy. So, when you fly that kite or blow those bubbles, think that maybe wind can also power so much more.

Barbara Mascareno

Barbara is an educational writer, teacher, and instructional designer. She loves to write K-12 education content, teaching strategies, bilingual education approaches, and foreign language.

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