I was reading my good old Scientific American the other day and they had an article on “Kinetic Kites.” These are wind turbines on a kite. They fly one thousand feet high where the wind is faster and more consistent. They are being developed by a company called Makani Power. Click through to their web site, lots of good information there.
The electricity is transmitted to the ground via a tether line. To get into the air electricity is back fed up the teather to the wind turbines which are propellers during ascent.
It’s all computer controlled. During the power generation phase the kite flies in a circular pattern as shown below perpendicular to the wind direction.
The prototype generates 30 kw of power. About as much as an average automobile. The vision is that these devices would be stationed offshore. It is kind of hard for me to imagine.
Below is a one minute long YouTube Video on the technology. It is just so cool.
I work in the natural gas industry and I am strong proponent of natural gas but I’m also an “All of the Above” kind of guy as far as energy is concerned including crude oil. This technology seems promising but I don’t think I would be a fan of a bunch of wind turbines offshore within sight of my favorite beaches. In the right area this seems like it could be promising. Wind Farms here in Oklahoma have destroyed some great views in some of the areas of our state.
What do you think? Are you into wind power?
I run with two Ipods now. An antiquated Nano for music and a newer Touch for taking pictures (cuz I’m a picture taker not a photographer). I happened by this plant a week or so ago on a morning run just as the sun had come up.
I’ve always admired the old school giant neon signs of PSO’s Tulsa Power Station right on the Arkansas River, especially the script “Electricity in big red letters just so we know what is going on there. Its from a different era where utilities promoted themselves a little more aggressively.
The family just got back from a visit to Idaho Falls, Idaho to visit my father. We had a pretty good time visiting and sightseeing.
One of the nice things about Idaho Falls are the.. , well the Falls.
The Snake River has a natural falls there. The City of Idaho Falls has captured some of that natural elevation difference and diverts some of the water through a bulb turbine to generate electricity. The city has generated electricity off the river since 1900. Presently the three bulb generators produce about 100 million kilowatt hours of electricity annually from the nineteen foot elevation across the Falls.
But there is plenty of water for the Falls. If it were anywhere else it might be a tourist attraction in itself but tourists who Idaho Falls are in a lather to get to the nearby Yellowstone National Park and Grand Teton Park so they whiz right be the Falls.
They are missing out is what I say.