The Biggest Windmill

It was in the 1970’s, the fuel crisis had begun
The choices were presented to us as if we had none
Leaders of industry said they could solve the problem
By mastering the power of the radioactive atom
Some folks in western Jutland got a notion in their heads
They thought there might be something they could offer up instead
A few hundred people gathered in a little place called Tvind
And declared their will to harness the power of the wind
We’re gonna build the biggest windmill in the world (2x)

There were many who said their science wasn’t sound
That such a mighty windmill would simply topple to the ground
Some of them were scientists, the vast majority were not
But they knew with years of effort you could do a lot
Word about the project spread far and wide
A hundred thousand visitors came to help and to advise
Until one day these windmill builders drove in with a crane
And lifted up their giant wings with a mighty chain
We’re gonna build the biggest windmill in the world (2x)

When Tvindkraft was completed it reached up to the sky
Its wings churned in the air at 54 meters high
The critics all fell silent, no one now was jeering
As even industry agreed this was some damn fine engineering
The wind regaled Jutland from the north Atlantic sea
As it was seamlessly converted into electricity
It was power for the people, leukemia for none
When they declared in Denmark just south of the midnight sun
We’re gonna build the biggest windmill in the world (2x)

They gave away the patents, they said knowledge should be free
And their plans were copied by a new-born industry
Soon Denmark would be known as the windmill-building nation
And it all started with some hippies at the Tvindkraft power station
Debates were held in parliament about which way things should go
Build a nuclear reactor, the majority said no
It could have gone quite differently — in much of the world it did
Except for those in Ulfborg who said we’re getting off the grid
We’re gonna build the biggest windmill in the world (2x)

Chord Charts for Selected Songs

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“The Biggest Windmill” appears on the Bandcamp album, Ten New Songs (2011).  It hasn’t yet been on a CD.

I knew Denmark was a pioneering country in terms of wind mill design and production.  What I learned much later in life is that the first industrial-scale windmill in the world ever built was built in Denmark — not initially by any big company, but by a collection of people centered around a folk school called Tvind.  Students, teachers, and other folks, in consultation with scientists from Stuttgart, spent years building a windmill far bigger than anything in existence up til then.  The windmill project, in addition to being a pioneering exploration of renewable energy, was also a protest against the notion of Denmark building its first nuclear reactor — something many similarly advanced countries around the world were then doing in a big way.  Largely as a result of the building of the Tvindkraft windmill, the Danish parliament voted against building a nuclear reactor.  What a wonderful story of direct action getting the goods!