Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Winds of Change

The shortcomings of wind power are well-documented: turbines need to be placed in remote areas, far from the grid; wind farms are a blight on the landscape; and bird strikes are far too common. But this hasn't stopped Magenn Energy from-- literally-- floating the latest in wind energy technology: a blimp that functions as a tethered, airborn wind turbine.

The portability of the device would seem to address two of the major problems with wind energy. Because it can be taken down and raised fairly easily, it alleviates the need for a permanent structure that would raise community opposition, and it can be deployed as conditions permit in less remote areas.

But, one look at the comment thread on Dailytech.com, and you can see this is going to have some issues. Within the first dozen posts, doubters quickly segued from musings about possible bird nestings to a detailed back and forth about how to shoot one of these balloons down! Apparently this could be a real issue and, as evivdence thereof, one poster even chimed in offering the apparently little reported phenomenon of shooting at grounded airliners being transported by rail through Kansas.

It's an out of the box solution, for sure, but only time will tell if has legs.