It looks like an abstract sculpture or metallic lawn art, and its promoters say that installing several can turn an ordinary backyard into a wind garden.
Renewable energy advocates in North Carolina say the Windspire, a power turbine that spins in an upright position in a confined space, could represent a major breakthrough for wind energy. Instead of using towers 100 feet tall or higher for conventional windmills, the Windspire is just 30 feet tall.
Wind energy has long been a nonstarter in this state because the best wind speeds are found in ecologically sensitive areas: Appalachian ridge tops and pristine coastlines. The state's midsection isn't windy enough to justify harnessing wind on a commercial scale. But for those who just want to supplement their power supply, one potential solution is the Windspire, with its comparatively low price tag and a design that works on office rooftops and in suburban open spaces.
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