Inventions & Questionable Turbines

This category is a catchall for all those contraptions that burst on the scene in a blaze of media hype as different from those “other” wind turbines only to eventually disappear. It’s not possible to critique every “invention” that plagues the field of wind energy so only those that have piqued my curiosity, or are particularly egregious, are listed here.

Wind Tree by New Wind

Staffer blows whistle on blowhard America’s Cup wind-power plan


Jonathan Milne

A waterfront lantern festival powered by a ‘wind tree’ was the last gasp for a failing business. In the final in a three-part series, Jonathan Milne reports how Evan Price’s chickens came home to roost – on a steel tree.


Sky Sails, Traction Kites, and World Record Holder


Paul Gipe

Ron Swenson, an old hand at solar and electric vehicles reached out to me after I mentioned Sky Sails when I railed against a thoughtless article in the Guardian about a bladeless wind turbine. Turns out Swenson is also an old hand at competitive sailing too.

James Allen Rowan of Mag-Wind Appears in Court


Paul Gipe

On 26 June 2019 the Raleigh, North Carolina News & Observer reported that James Allen Rowan of Mag-Wind fame appeared in federal court in an orange jump suit to stand trial for fraud.


Oh No Not Them Again: Bladeless Wind Turbines are Back


Paul Gipe

As a subscriber to the Guardian newspaper I nearly choked on my coffee at 4.30 in the morning last week while I was scrolling through my news feed. I stumbled on Bladeless turbines could bring wind power to your home. “Oh Lordy,” I thought to myself. “My inbox is going to be full of this all day.” Sure enough, a few minutes later I get a ping and it was Bob Tregilus (he’s an early riser too) texting, “Did you see this.”


Airborne Wind Energy Company Closes Shop, Opens Patents


Mark Anderson

This week, a 13-year experiment in harnessing wind power using kites and modified gliders finally closes down for good.

RIP Google Makani: Perhaps The Entire Airborne Wind Energy Space Will Finally Disappear


Michael Barnard

Makani was still being touted as the leader in the space for the 2019 Airborne Wind Energy Conference, held in Scotland in August. And now, it’s dead. Alphabet pulled the plug a couple of days ago. This isn’t really surprising.

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