Windnest Coming To PIttsburgh

Even a long time, hard rock, solar and wind power enthusiast such as myself must admit that I’m not fond of the current generation of wind turbines. Acres and acres of gigantic tri-wings are awesome (and new in my own lifetime), but they aren’t pretty.

We can do better.

For example, consider the WindNest designed by Trevor Lee, slated to be installed in Pittsburgh.

Rendering of WindNest to be installed at Schenley Plaza in Pittsburgh PA

The installation demonstrates the potential for our sustainable infrastructures to be joyful contributions to creative placemaking.

WindNest features small wind turbines in fabric cowls with thin film solar collectors as well, all in a decorative design suitable for an urban public place. Scaled down to fit the site, it should produce approximately 100% of the electricity needed for the carousel in the plaza. (Larger versions could generate power for homes or offices.)

From the rendering, we can imagine that this will be a whole not more attractive than industrial wind or solar installations. Quite nice for a city center, actually.

I’ll be interested to visit this if I have a chance. I wonder what it sounds like (turbines are notoriously noisy and irritating), and I’ll wonder how it stands up to wear and tear—birds, squirrels, human vandals, and just plain weather will take the shine off. Will it keep working in the face of urban reality?

This project was created as a submission to the Land Art Generator Initiative (LAGI), whose slogan it “Renewable Energy Can Be Beautiful”. (Their biannual meeting is coming up in mid May in sunny Santa Monica, CA.)

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