Reaping the Wind: How Mechanical Wizards Visionaries and Profiteers Helped Shape Our Energy Future

From the solitary windmill standing sentry over a rural homestead to the sleek machinery of a modern wind farm, windmills are a powerful symbol of self-reliance and human ingenuity. Once the province of backyard tinkerers and eccentric inventors, they have since the 1980s entered the mainstream to be embraced by environmentalists, venture capitalists and policymakers alike. In Reaping the Wind , journalist Peter Asmus tells the history of commercial wind power in the United States. He introduces readers to maverick scientists and technologists who laboured in obscurity, to entrepreneurs and visionary capitalists who believed that a centuries-old idea could be made feasible in the modern world, and to enterprising financial advisers and investors who sought to exploit the last great tax shelter in federal history. Beginning with the early pioneers, from William Heronemus, a former US Navy captain who dreamt of huge floating wind farms off the coast of new England, to the $40 million success story of Jim Dehlsen of Zond, he offers an animated narrative that profiles the colourful cast of characters involved with the development of the American wind power industry. Reaping the Wind provides information about the technologies and policies that drive the industry and give it promise interwoven with the human story of the struggle to develop - against great odds - reliable, clean energy from a source as unpredictable and seemingly uncontrollable as the wind. Anyone interested in renewable energy or the human and political drama behind the development of new technologies should find this book helpful.