University Archives & Special Collections, RG 2001.1, President’s Papers Series I. (Patrick Hayes)

Power of the wind

The University of Saskatchewan has been engaged in energy research almost from the beginning.

Two early examples were the straw gas car and the efficient use of Saskatchewan’s lignite coal resources.

The Department of Agricultural Engineering, under the direction of Professors Alexander Greig and Raymond Frey, conducted a wind generation study from 1926 through 1936. This was funded through the National Research Council where President Walter Murray was member of the board.

A wind turbine was installed on the roof of the Engineering Building where 6- and 32-volt plants were tested.  

According to the 1931 progress report:

“We are still carrying on investigation with regard to development of electricity, using the windmill as prime mover. We are now on the fifth year of this work. We had to do some extensive repairing both on the battery and on the windmill. The output of electricity however, continues to be good, about four times the requirements of a household for lighting purposes.”  

This research sparked interest in rural Saskatchewan with the university receiving a “large number of letters asking for information re construction and use of small wind electrical plants.”  

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