nd.gov - The Official Portal for North Dakota State Government
North Dakota: Legendary. Follow the trail of legends

What is Wind Power?

What wind power is:

  • Wind power is a renewable resource because it will never be used up.
  • Wind power is power created by changing the energy of the wind into a useful form of energy.
    • Wind energy can be used to generate electricity.

History of wind power in North Dakota:

Early Windmill
Early Use of Windmills: This photo from 1922 shows a young woman in front of a windmill. Early settlers used windmills on farmsteads to pump water from wells. Photo courtesy of NDSU Institute for Regional Studies.
  • In the early 1900s, some North Dakota residents began using wind power to produce electricity.
    • Wind chargers generated electricity for small electrical devices in rural (country) homes.
      • Generating electricity from wind chargers had drawbacks.
        • Only very small devices could be powered by wind chargers.
        • A battery back-up was needed when the wind was not blowing.
  • In the 1940s, electricity was brought to North Dakota farms by Rural Electric Cooperatives (RECs).  
    • The RECs built power lines to carry electricity to the farms.
      • By 1954, almost all of the farms in North Dakota had electricity brought by the RECs.
      • The small wind chargers were no longer needed.