Wind Power, Theo Jansen, imagination and potential

The fate of Cape Wind  – a proposed 130-turbine offshore wind project that has involved 6 East Coast governors, two Native American tribes, nine years of ferocious public debate and at least two Kennedys – is coming to a head. Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar is due to make a ruling on whether  or not the project should move forward by the end of the week.

Thinking about the future of wind, and whether the proposed wind farm represents a destructive eyesore or an essential part of a sustainable energy infrastructure, makes me think of Theo Jansen’s work:

Theo Jansen is a sculptor and inventor of solar and wind-powered devices. Here’s another one made of cardboard:

Nifty videos like this do not make the current Cape Wind debate less urgent (or, offshore elsewhere, last week’s offshore oil rig explosion in Loiusiana any less poignant).

However, even as we figure out a strategy for near or mid-term energy independence in this country, we should remember that future energy resources may  look very, very different.  Don’t assume storage, or solar, or transportation will be limited to current design .. or current aesthetics.  The future of energy may be weirder, and less limited, than we think. It will certainly need to be at least as creative as Jansen’s designs to overcome the energy and environmental challenges ahead.


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