I've been using énergie éolienne for wind energy, but I'm wondering what to use for the word "windmill." I've seen éolienne for the word windmill, but I have also seen moulin à vent. Which is more suitable or used more often in the french language?
A "Moulin à vent" was a machine used to grind seeds or to power water pumps like in the netherlands (I hope I don't make a mistake on the name). An "Eolienne" is a modern word to name a device powered by the wind and linked to a generator to produce electricity (although one can find "éoliennes" used to pump water in wells).
The truth is that, our grand-parents built "moulins" an now we make "éoliennes". So, if you talk about a wooden building build before the 1st world war, it's a "moulin", if talk about a kind of tower made of steel, plastic or concrete, built in the XXth (or XXIst) century, it's an "éolienne"
In one sentence I'm referring to the 1920s, and in another I'm referring to the 1930s. In my sentences I'm talking about the windmill generating electricity for a small rurale area. Would that make it an "éolienne"? Or would the date make it a "moulin"?