By Chris Milton
Wind turbines? Dontcha hate them! Horrible things going round-and-round. Roundandroundandroundandround. They make a lot of noise, and bits seem to keep on falling off them. Dangerous.
Then there's the NIMBY neighbours: "Oh, we don't want one of those here," they say. "Renewable energy: yes. Somewhere where it's inconvenient: NO!" It's as though they think a wind-energy solution can be integrated into every house with minimal visual impact.
Well blow me down, it can!!
Ridgeblade is a fabulous wind-turbine solution from UK based The Power Collective. It's very simple: instead of a large standalone windmill-like structure, put a long bladed turbine along the ridge of a building's roof.
The blades are about the same length as a medium wind turbine, so you can catch about the same amount of wind. What's more, as these can be mounted along an existing roof, there's no need for an additional NIMBY-provoking superstructure.
So revolutionary is this approach that the company has won $750,000 from the Green Challenge Awards.
"It's beyond a dream," said Power Collective CEO Dean Gregory when Skype founder Niklas Zennström announced him as the winner. I'll bet: he'd only entered the competition two days before the closing date!
This is the right kind of innovation, one which will bring a community together to provide energy together on a collective scale, rather than relying upon some far away power station to provide the same for a profit.
Let's hope it succeeds.