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Wind Turbines Take to the Skies to Seek More Power - 6th March

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Critics of wind turbines argue about their aesthetics and inefficiency, claiming that they are ‘a blot on the landscape and an expensive folly to boot’.

However wind is free, and while electricity currently generated from wind turbines is more expensive than some fossil fuels, costs are falling, fast. A new age of wind turbine technologies are looking to end the debate by ensuring cheap, flexible and less intrusive wind power. Are we seeing a wind power revolution?

Many ideas have been developed, ranging from the inclusion of a wind lens (developed by Kyushu University) to wind funnelling, ensuring supply and reduced levels of noise vibrations. The inventions that have caught most people’s attention however, are those looking to harness energy high in the sky where winds are twice as high and wind power is 10 times greater. German’s ‘Enerkite’ team have designed a carbon fibre wing controlled to fly crosswind and pull on tethers driving reels on the ground. The team claim that a 100KW kite generates the same amount of electricity as a 200KW – 300KW turbine, which means cheaper power. Other ideas consist of helium balloons carrying wind turbines hundreds of meters in to the sky and Google X’s carbon fibre glider, made up of 8 small turbines looking to produced 600KW.

Although, currently producing low levels of power for communities, could these technologies be the future for wind power improving levels of efficiency and reducing visual impacts.

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