Our first wind generator experience at the AEEC places the grid/off-grid issue in historical perspective. This was a Jacobs Generator from the late 1920s or early 1930s (see http://telosnet.com/ wind/20th.html).
It was an unforgettable moment in the mid-1970s when, the tall wind tower having been assembled by fifty Ramapo College students on the ground, they heaved together on long ropes to pull the tower upright. After the tower was secured, the Jacobs Generator was moved into position by a crane. Two faculty then climbed the tower and prepared the generator for operation.
After two decades of service, the Jacobs was replaced by a modern lightweight Whisper generator. The new machine could generate 1 kilowatt despite its much smaller size and it began generating at 7 mph breezes, unlike its heavy predecessor, giving it wider utility (http://www.electricalternatives.com/world_power_technologies.htm).
While the Whisper will be re-erected at the new RCSEC, the Jacobs will be a centerpiece sculpture in one of the gardens. Thus, the Jacobs will continue to tell its story about the grid and the history of alternative energy to future generations of learners as it has for the past thirty years.