In the 1970’s my parents installed solar panels on our house in Connecticut. They were supposed to power the water heater. Instead they powered my father’s cynicism about renewable energy. The concept was right but the technology wasn’t.
Over thirty years later things have changed dramatically. Yet while interest in solar is strong among many eco-conscious Prius driving recyclers, the allure of wind power is surprisingly small.
Wind’s got an image problem. If the elements of the earth were to star in a reality show, wind would be the obnoxious character, the one who gets carelessly drunk, wrecks the living room and everyone loves to hate. Except for the summer breeze, wind’s sensual second cousin, wind is too powerful and tumultuous, bringing heartache to the meek in the form of tornadoes, hurricanes, Nor’easters and blustery bad hair days.
A proposal for a wind farm off New England’s Cape Cod has stirred controversy and been derided by many activists that one would expect to be excited by such plans.
But make no mistake, wind power is gaining strength and thousands of new adherents. According to the Union of Concerned Scientists “wind energy is the fastest growing source of electricity in the world.” Furthermore the group notes that “resource assessments have found that the windy areas (class three and above) in the United States—if fully developed—could supply more than four times the nation’s current electricity needs.”
With the help of innovative companies wind has left small town America for the cities, too, shedding it’s reputation as the ‘country cousin’ that might work on a farm or ranch but has little too offer more densely populated areas.
Two leading innovators include Endurance Wind Power and Koenders Windmills.
Both manufacture products that are suited for large scale installations they also make windmills that can be easily adapted to small business and even off the grid use.
While the companies differ in product focus—Endurance makes energy turbines while Koenders manufactures turbines that provide water aeration – both are transforming ways to harness the wind, with easy to install, maintain and operate products that would have restored the faith my father lost so many years ago in the power of renewable energy.
More importantly all those folks driving hybrid cars should take a look too as well as facility managers, urban planners, water treatment experts and anyone who thinks that it’s time to get serious about reducing our dependence on fossil fuels.
We’re not sure we’re ready to see a McMansion with windmill next to the five car garage but hey who knows, they might be up there already.