Soon the hum of high-voltage electric towers will come from the electricity they produce, not just what they conduct. The Wind-it, a design by French architects Nicola Delon and Julien Choppin and engineer Raphael Menard, inserts a vertical turbine inside the towers. Large wind farms need lots of land; Wind-it could be installed anywhere along the 157,000 miles of high-voltage aboveground wires in the U.S. The turbines also plug right into the grid, saving the cost of stringing cable to remote areas. The inventors are currently looking for an industrial partner to turn their scale model into a 330-foot-tall tower, which their computer simulations suggest could generate up to a megawatt of electricity—enough to power 400 homes. "The Midwest needs new power lines," Menard says, "and because the towers will cross high-wind fields, it could be perfect for Wind-it."
I've been following alternative energy for several years now, especially wind, since I grew up on a small ranch in Texas and we had a few old-fashioned windmills around. But it never occurred to me that power-line towers could use as mounts for turbines -- didn't occur to me despite the fact there are power lines crossing the ranch. Those lines are on wooden poles, and aren't anywhere near the height talked about in this article, of course, but they just might do to give my Sister and my Mother, each of home lives in her own home on the place, some back-up electricity. I'll have to mention the idea to them.