On Friday afternoon, at the Bioneers Conference, we visited the wind turbine at the Great Lakes Science Center. They also have solar panels and a green roof for their parking garage!
The wind turbine will generate power at 8 mph, and reach its peak power output at 31 mph, at which time it will provide 225 kwh of power. This isn’t a lot, because the turbine isn’t in the optimal position.
To generate the most power, it would need to be in the lake! But then, people wouldn’t see it, and it wouldn’t serve the dual purpose it serves now – generating power and educating people about renewable energy.
One concern with wind turbines is the effect on birds. The GLSC has been conducting a study, and haven’t found a large number of birds killed by the turbine. Many more are killed by flying into the windows of city buildings (thousands every year).
Cleveland Public Art partnered with the GLSC to make the turbine and surrounding area a piece of art for the city of Cleveland. They decided to clear the lawn surrounding the turbine. The goal of the GLSC was to have the turbine be accessible to the public, so Cleveland Public Art created a unique sidewalk, made by tracing the shadow of the turbine during the summer equinox. It’s a very graceful piece that connects the GLSC to the turbine, and further highlights the beauty of renewable energy.