General Electric (GE) is in the process of creating fabric blades for wind turbines. They are looking at glass-based fabrics combined with a soft, rubbery resin, giving the material or fabric some flexibility. That flexibility will make it more resilient than stiff fiberglass, which will in turn allow GE to use less material, reducing materials costs and weight.
Most wind turbine blades today are made of fiberglass and this could be, dare I say a game changer? GE has said that favoring fabric over fiberglass could also ease wind turbine blade production costs by an impressive 25 to 40 percent.
“GE’s weaving an advanced wind blade that could be the fabric of our clean energy future,” said Wendy Lin, a GE Principal Engineer and leader on the ARPA-E project. “The fabric we’re developing will be tough, flexible, and easier to assemble and maintain. It represents a clear path to making wind even more cost competitive with fossil fuels.”
As someone who has worked in the wind industry
since the 90’s, I am all for improvements within the industry, especially if it will help ease our dependence off of fossil fuels.
pollution annually—equivalent to taking 13 million of today’s passenger vehicles off the road—and saves more than enough water to supply the annual water needs of a city the size of Boston.”
Ready to install another weather station to track wind speeds for the install of a future wind turbine, but my Vanna White impression needs a bit of work. Kidding aside, I do have to say that I love working in the ‘green/sustainability’ space and educating those on the benefits of clean technology! I am proud to be an environmental consultant! We do need more women in construction and I hope this inspires you and perhaps even increase your involvement in renewable energy projects.
The beginnings of a wind farm in Los Angeles? Is it possible? As someone who has worked in the wind industry since the 90’s, I have seen the good, the bad, the ugly and the beautiful with regards to proponents and opponents of wind energy. And sometimes, very rarely, an opportunity appears where the best of what wind power has to offer can be realized in ways that can educate, inspire and directly benefit a community in need.
I am currently involved in just such an opportunity as part of a school bond program. As a first step, I am conducting a wind feasibility study for a school in Los Angeles County within the Glendale Unified School District. This very progressive school is home to special needs students, ages 6 to 22. It is also a public school and, as such, represents a possible proof of concept for a larger program that could benefit the entire Los Angeles County public school system. The renewable energy technologies potentially implemented on this new construction project could include solar thermal for the therapy pool, photovoltaic for the parking structure and roof and wind turbines atop of a 1000 foot ridge just tucked in behind the school.
Creating a net zero energy public school would be a remarkable accomplishment. Currently, our goal is provide enough energy to mitigate 80% of the energy demand of the school. Even at this rate, the financial benefit would be immediate and applicable system-wide. Although the utility company does not have net metering, meaning you cannot sell excess energy that the school would produce back to the grid, it does open the door to this possibility.
There is hope that, through the success of pilot projects like this, more utility companies will provide incentives and rebates for community and school wind initiatives. Also, and perhaps just as significant, this project has the potential to serve as a real world example for students to learn about and experience first hand the science of wind power resulting in increased awareness and advocacy among students of all ages as well as inspiring and even developing the industry’s future leaders.
I know this is a once in a lifetime project on so many levels and I am grateful to be a part of it. The true hero in this project who I must acknowledge is the Principal of the Special Education Department at New College View School/Facts Program in Glendale; Macre ‘Jay’ Schwartz. She reminded me that to teach in a progressive school you must teach within a progressive environment.
Please follow me as I chronicle this inspiring story and let you into the world of possibilities, such as building the first wind farm in Los Angeles for a school.