Exploring news ways of catching the power of wind By Chris Rose

Although large-scale wind power farms are the usual method of tapping into the increasingly popular emissions-free power technology, a growing number of institutions and people are exploring other ways of harnessing wind to create green electricity.

One of the latest examples of this exciting shift occurred last week in Nevada when civic officials gathered on the top of Reno’s 17-storey-high City Hall to admire two 1.5-kilowatt wind turbines that are part of a plan to install small-scale wind turbines around the city to create energy and save money.

“It’s a great thing to do to lower energy bills as much as you can,” Jason Geddes, the city’s environmental services administrator, was quoted as saying in a Government Technology report, “and hedge against future increases in fossil fuel energy.”

The report also says that Reno, one of the first US cities to place a wind turbine on top of a City Hall, has already installed a wind turbine at the sewage plant and one at a park. In total, the report says, nine urban turbines will be installed so officials can test how they perform in various environments.

The Government Technology story also quoted Geddes as saying that the city is investing $1 million for wind programs with a total of about $19 million for new energy technology. Locals officials have said the wind, solar and energy-efficiency projects are expected to reduce energy use by 25% save $1 million a year.

Meanwhile, BBC News reported last week that JoeBen Bevirt is putting the final touches to a series of large kites, which he says will be able to harvest the fast crosswinds found at high altitude.

The BBC story claims that Bevrit’s airborne wind turbines will fly to about 600 metres, where they will float, generating power that can be transferred to the ground via a tether.

“Global wind is a tremendous source of energy — carrying nearly 870 terrawatts in global tropospheric winds,” Bevirt, who works for a Californian company, is quoted as saying. “In comparison, the global demand is 17 terawatts. Harnessing a tiny fraction will transform the way we power our civilization.”

By Chris Rose, blog.ewea.org/