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16th March 2017

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The arguments of wind turbines and wind farms have gone on since they first popped up. On one side, the clean energy source is creating a sustainable future, on the other despite wind energy being non-polluting, the turbines are unattractive to a natural landscape and may create a lot of noise. Wind farms are not built near residential areas, nor can they be built in designated areas of outstanding natural beauty, however despite almost meeting in the middle and keeping the sites away from built up areas the issues in both the ‘pro’ and ‘con’ camps continue.

Solar energy designers and engineers have made the most moves within the clean energy environment for making a more aesthetically pleasing design, and a great example of technology that now exists is see-through solar panels that can be used as windows in buildings. Following these breakthrough concepts, it appears that similar options are soon to be available for wind turbines. We were excited to read more about these this week:

The first exciting concept that looks set to enter the UK market is the smaller wind turbine attached to street lamp posts. IT and technology firm NVT Group and Own Energy, which designed the small turbine that will be used, have formed a joint partnership that will create 25 jobs over the next year. This venture could turnover more than £400m within five years and the biggest benefit is that these turbines will be connected directly to the national grid. Scottish Nationalist MSP Richard Lyle has been quoted as saying “This is marvellous news and I know from colleagues across the political divide that this project is really firing the imagination. It chimes with the policies of the major political parties in Scotland and can deliver both clean green energy as well as meaningful financial benefits for hosts such as local government and private owners alike.” With other countries already expressing major interest in the concept, it’s an exciting time for a fellow Scottish business.

The second concept has been developed by French entrepreneur Jérôme Michaud-Larivière, who operates under French company NewWind. The 36-foot-tall steel structures feature 72 artificial leaves that operate as mini vertical turbines all around the “tree.” When the wind blows, the leaf turbines rotate and quietly produce energy. The cables and generators are integrated into the leaves and branches so that the turbine operates almost silently. Immediately, this design answers those who question the size and noise levels of a traditional wind turbine, and although they will only output an estimated 3.1 kW of power, a street lined with these wind trees could power city street lights or help to offset the power consumption of nearby buildings. We look forward to watching this concept blossom into a functional design and hope to see a final design that should be ready for market at some point in 2018.