The next big thing in wind: Slow wind, huge turbines by Eric Palm
With politicians pushing adoption of renewable energy in the United States and Europe, the last few years have seen a surge in plans for wind farms--both on land and sea. But wind power isn't viable everywhere--and prime coastal spots are often already developed. So some wind-turbine makers are shifting their focus toward building bigger wind turbines that can harvest the lower-speed winds that are more readily available. This next generation of wind turbines is no small matter: their rotors have a diameter the size of a football field.
"We see continued growth in Europe, notably because of EU legislation to derive 20 percent of its energy from renewable sources," Victor Abate, vice president for the renewables arm of GE Energy, told Reuters in an interview. The European Union issued a directive in December 2008 to have 20 percent of its energy come from renewable sources by 2020. Europe contains more than half of the world's installed wind power capacity.