When you first look at this image, you might see the giant stone structure and wonder why the windmills of old are so much different than the ones we see today. But, in fact, the ‘windmills’ we often see today are actually not windmills at all – they are wind turbines! The distant cousin to our turbines harnessed the power of wind in order to operate mills within the structure, often with the goals of grinding grain or pumping water from the ground in dry regions. The windmill first appeared in the 9th century, and was an important step for mankind in showing that we could harness immense energies from the natural world and use them for our own purposes. Today, windmills are one of the cleanest and cheapest forms of electricity. As long as the wind is blowing we can collect that energy and store it to use later. Just think of how much wind energy is really out there right now!