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17.10.2017 08:16 Age: 1 year

Wind Power Museum in Stemwede turns 20 years old

The Mühlenheider Wind Power Museum association was founded in 1997. The mission of the association is to safeguard the historical roots of Germany's modern wind power utilisation and to make them accessible to the public. The museum is the only one of its kind in all of Germany and since its founding 20 years ago, it has come to house the largest collection of historical wind power installations in the world. This has drawn attention to renewable energy beyond the borders of North Rhine-Westphalia.

Foto: Arne Jaeger

The Mühlenheider Wind Power Museum is located in the middle of the Westphalian Mills Route in the East Westphalian town of Stemwede, which has linked together 43 restored mills and attracts many bicycle tourists during the summer. In the museum, 20 different wind turbines can be found from Germany and Europe, ten of which are on display in open-air exhibits. One of these exhibits was restored and put into operation in close proximity to the museum, where it now once again converts wind power into emission-free electricity.

The museum began back in the 1990s, when a small group of wind power pioneers developed the idea to build a museum about wind power usage during Expo 2000 in Hanover. After the first plans for an extensive, subsidised museum project could not be realised, the parties involved took the project into their own hands and founded the Mühlenheider Wind Power Museum association. The group became a registered association two years later. Since then, the association has regularly saved old wind power installations from being torn down, steadily expanding its number of exhibition pieces. Now on display at the museum are, among other things, private tinkerings and exhibits on the beginnings of wind power usage, such as the Lagerwey wind turbine, the first private installation to feed electricity into the German power grid in 1982. The output of the installations on display ranges from single-digit kilowatts to 150 kilowatts. The Tacke TW 1.5 is the only remaining installation in operation today and has a capacity of 1.5 megawatts.

The farm serving as the location for the museum belongs to founding member Wilfried Winkelmann. As a child, he tinkered with his own creations and screwed together his first small wind turbines from scrap metal. His interest in wind power is representative of the now over 200 members of the Mühlenheider Wind Power Museum association who are committed to making the history of wind power utilisation a reality for attentive groups of visitors – something they have been doing for 20 years.