Sunday, March 30, 2014

World's Highest Wind Turbine Will Hover Above Alaska

(Credit: Altaeros Energies) Click to enlarge.
The title for world's largest wind turbine is constantly up for grabs as manufacturers build higher and bigger to capture more energy from the passing air.

One turbine in Alaska, however, will now spin high above the rest. Altaeros Energies will launch its high-altitude floating wind turbine south of Fairbanks to bring more affordable power to a remote community. Ben Glass, CEO of Altaeros told The New York Times that the company expects to provide power at about $0.18 per kilowatt-hour, about half the price of off-grid electricity in Alaska. 

Altaeros says there is a US $17-billion remote power and microgrid market that could benefit from the technology.  Many off-grid sites, including small islands, mining sites or military bases, rely on expensive diesel generators to provide some or all of their power needs.  There are many projects that are trying to develop integrated solutions to tackle this market, particularly microgrids that integrate some type renewable energy.

The Boston-based startup is hardly alone in flying power stations, either.  Last year, Google X purchased Makani Power that makes airborne wind turbines that resemble small airplanes.  At the time, Google told TechCrunch that the appeal of Makani was that "They've turned a technology that today involves hundreds of tons of steel and precious open space into a problem that can be solved with r0eally intelligent software."  Other airborne wind companies include WindLift, SkySails, Sky Windpower, and NTS.

World's Highest Wind Turbine Will Hover Above Alaska

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