MODERN HISTORY

Wind energy pioneers


Vester Egesborg turbines
Vester Egesborg wind turbine        The engineer Johannes Juul was one of the first students of Poul La Cour in his courses for "Wind Electricians" in 1904.







The Gedser wind turbine
The Gedser wind turbine (drawing)The Gedser wind turbine        The innovative 200 kW Gedser wind turbine was built in 1956-57 by J. Juul for the electricity company SEAS at Gedser coast in the Southern part of Denmark. Gedser is a good, windy area located at the southern tip of the island of Falster in Denmark.
        The three-bladed upwind turbine with electromechanical yawing and an asynchronous generator was a pioneering design for modern wind turbines, although its rotor with guy wires looks a bit old fashioned today. The turbine was stall controlled and J. Juul invented the emergency aerodynamic tip brakes which were released by the centrifugal force in case of over speed. Basically the same system is used today on modern stall controlled turbines.
        The turbine, which for many years was the world's largest, was incredibly durable. It ran for 11 years without maintenance.
        The Gedser wind turbine was refurbished in 1975 at the request of NASA which wanted measurement results from the turbine for the new U.S. wind energy programme. The machine ran for a few years with test measurements after which it was dismantled. The nacelle and rotor of the turbine are now on display the Electricity Museum at Bjerringbro, Denmark. The concrete tower of the Gedser turbine is still there after 50 years, although it is now equipped with a modern Danish wind turbine nacelle.





The Nibe turbines
        After the first oil crisis in 1973, interest in wind energy rekindled in several countries. In Denmark, the power companies immediately aimed at making large turbines, just like their counterparts in Germany, Sweden, the UK and the USA.
        In 1979 they built two 630 kW wind turbines, one pitch controlled, and one stall controlled. In many ways they suffered the same fate as their even larger colleagues abroad: The turbines became extremely expensive and the high energy price subsequently became a key argument against wind energy.