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Curtains for Wind (Literally)

Posted by: John Carey on October 7, 2008

Convincing local communities to allow wind farms nearby is often not an easy task. There are the obvious concerns about what the turbines will look like, how loud the spinning blades will be, whether birds will be harmed, and what the project will mean for local property values. But when We Energies, the Milwaukee, Wisc-based utility, recently tried to expand its wind production, it ran into an objection most of us hadn’t even thought of.

Some local people complained about the strobe-like effect of sun behind the windmills. When the sun is behind the wind farm, each blade blocks the sunlight long enough to make it seem like giant hand is flipping a solar light switch as fast as once per second.

We Energies’ solution? They were able to get people to accept the wind turbines by agreeing to pay for new window treatments—curtains or shades.

Reader Comments


October 8, 2008 1:24 PM

Shades of the Coase theorem!

Rob Ludvig

October 10, 2008 11:43 PM

Are we really still talking about wind turbines? That's last years news. Why aren't we talking about how one can start their own green business? Why aren't we educating people about what a green business is? It is definitely more than wind turbines and geothermal technologies. At the heart of green business is the passion of the small business entrepreneur who wants to make money but NOT at the expense of adversely effecting the environment.

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BusinessWeek correspondents John Carey and Mark Scott, cover the green scene, keeping on top of the business aspects of energy, the environment and climate change, as well as the technologies, policies, markets and people that are shaping how the earth's resources will be used in the century ahead.

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