The Newest Power Plant: A Centuries-old Windmill

Hemet has wind.    How about some pretty windmills retrofitted like these?

The following is from

There are over 1,000 old mills spread over the Holland countryside, Last year, one of them was the first to be retrofit with an add-on package for generating electrical power.

The idea makes sense since experts figure it takes about 10 kW to turn a mill stone. And mills are typically overbuilt: Most generate about 240 kW.

The mill chosen for retrofit dates to 1851. It turns at 4 to 24 rpm, and this gets sped up by a factor of 10, thanks to a special wheel. The mill still uses wooden gears, and though many have been replaced over the years, they are still built to original specifications. So the first step was to replace one of those gears with a stronger version that used reinforced plastic rollers….

Additional Resources

  • The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind by William Kamkwamba – This book is a story of William Kamkwamba, who had a dream of ending the hunger and poverty of his small village by supplying it with water and electricity. He did this by pursuing his plan of building a home-made wind turbine at age 14. The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind is a remarkable true story about human inventiveness and its power to overcome crippling adversity.
  • –  William Kamkwamba: How I built a windmill – June 2007

* * *

“I looked at my father and looked at those dry fields [in Malawi].
It was the future I couldn’t accept.”
~ William Kamkwamba, inventor


About Hemet Sunshine

I am a homeschooling mom living in Hemet, California. I am interested in building a better community for the ones I love.
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