[In Adelie Land, Antarctica, a howling river of] wind, 50 miles wide, blows off the plateau, month in and month out, at an average velocity of 50 m.p.h. As a source of power this compares favorably with 6,000 tons of water falling every second over
. I will not further anticipate some H. G. Wells of the future who will ring the Antarctic with power-producing windmills; but the winds of the Antarctic have to be felt to be believed, and nothing is quite impossible to physicists and engineers. Niagara Falls
- Professor Frank Debenham of
, president of the geography section, South Polar traveler, founder of the Scott Polar Research Institute (from TIME article, Cambridge, UK Sep. 23, 1935)
Decades ago, Admiral Richard E. Byrd, famed American Antarctic explorer, made the first recorded use of electricity generated by wind power in
Antarctica. Between the years 1933-1955, a Jacobs Wind-Driven Electric Generating Plant, a small commercial wind turbine of the time, provided power for the Little America outpost.
Since that time, both the technology and proliferation of wind turbine technology has evolved. The Australians, Belgians, and others now make use of wind power in various stations across
Antarctica. Goals of energy conservation and a move toward sustainable, clean resources are changing the face of power production here. The fierce winds of the world’s coldest continent, however, have remained relatively unchanged.
In January, at a joint
– New Zealand ceremony on Crater Hill, the continent’s southernmost, largest wind-power station was officially dedicated. According to Antarctica New Zealand (ANZ), the three wind turbines, each rated at 333kW, may reduce diesel requirements by 122,000 gallons and carbon dioxide emissions by 1,370 tons annually. United States
As part of a joint logistics pool between the two nations,
and New Zealand research stations on United States will both benefit from the energy produced by the wind turbines. Ross Island
Of all the forces of nature, I should think the wind contains the largest amount of motive power—that is, power to move things. Take any given space of the earth’s surface—for instance, Illinois—; and all the power exerted by all the men, and beasts, and running-water, and steam, over and upon it, shall not equal the one hundredth part of what is exerted by the blowing of the wind over and upon the same space. And yet it has not, so far in the world’s history, become proportionably valuable as a motive power. It is applied extensively, and advantageously, to sail-vessels in navigation. Add to this a few wind-mills, and pumps, and you have about all.
- Abraham Lincoln,
April 6, 1858, Bloomington, Illinois