Be it on land or at sea, from the very dawn of time, mankind has harnessed wind power to perform actions that proved impossible by physical strength alone. On land, wind power was channeled by windmills to grind wheat or pump water from deep wells. At sea, wind has inflated the sails of boats and crafts of all sizes, giving humankind the chance to wonder beyond the great blue yonder.
Don Quixote, the protagonist of Miguel de Cervantes’ masterpiece, is probably one of the all-time faces of wind power. As he challenged Spain’s windmills, the knight errant was testament to wind power’s established presence in seventeenth century Europe. Although time had to fast forward by two centuries before by the end of the nineteenth century, humankind developed the capacity to harness electricity resulting from the change in pressure between two air masses.
Technological evolution and innovation were instrumental in the development of wind energy, leading to modern-day wind turbines. Based on data from a 2019 report drafted by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), wind energy currently ranks in second place among renewable energy sources with 564 GW-worth of installed capacity and counting: wind power accounts for 5% of global electricity production, a figure which has doubled over the last 10 years.