Monthly Letters to Pulmonary Patients by Thomas L. Petty

Thomas L. Petty, M.D.

Professor of Medicine, 
University of Colorado

Chairman, National Lung Health Education Program (NLHEP)


National Lung Health Education Program
A collaborative project with



HealthOne Center
1850 High Street
Denver, CO 80218
Phone: 303 839 6755
Fax: 303 832 8137

“Windmill Energy”

August 2001
Second Wind
Lomita, California

Dear Friends:

     On a recent trip to Denmark, I learned that windmills make 10% of the electric energy for all of Denmark, based on the presence of almost continuous sea breezes.  A string of large rotor propellers faithfully churn out millions of kilowatts for the growing appetite of a modern electric-oriented western country with a high standard of living.  This means fuel for a myriad of brightly lighted hotels, factories, stores, and heating, which is currently done largely by electricity, at least in Copenhagen.

     The windmills only make energy when they are turning (moving).  I mused over this recently as I considered the energy needed by ourselves.  We need to deliver oxygen to tissues to allow the consumption of foodstuffs in a process known as metabolism, for high energy production.  The transport of oxygenated blood to the tissues provides an abundant supply for tissue metabolism.  Exercise works to promote increased energy production.  If the windmill stands still, no energy is produced.  As we sit and do nothing, we limit the energy supply to our tissues.  We need to move briskly, as do the windmills, to make more energy for life and the pursuit of happiness.

     I will be in touch next month.

     Your friend,

     Thomas Petty, MD

Last update:
24 Feb 2002