The Eiffel Tower is greener than ever. The 125-year-old structure is partially powering itself, thanks to two new wind turbines. The turbines will produce about 10,000 kilowatt hours of electricity annually, enough to power the iconic tower’s commercial activity on the first floor, which is home to restaurants, a souvenir shop, exhibits, and pavilions.
For the City of Lights, the turbines represent the first implementation of a series of sustainable refurbishment upgrades to reduce Paris’s ecological footprint. Other planned green enhancements to the world’s most famous tower include roof-mounted solar panels to help meet the water heating needs of the pavilions, LED lighting on the first floor to save energy, and a rainwater recovery system that not only supplies water to the toilet facilities but also helps power the booster pumps that pump water to the upper levels of the tower.
Urban Green Energy (UGE), a New York-based renewable-energy design firm, designed and installed the two VisionAIR5 vertical axis wind turbines earlier this year. Installing the twin 17-foot structures 400 feet above ground level was no easy task for UGE. Mounting the turbines required each component to be hoisted individually and suspended by rope above the tower’s second level. In addition, the installation unfolded at night to avoid interrupting the Eiffel Tower’s hours of public operation, which closes at 11 p.m. daily.
The new turbines are whisper silent—literally--generating about 40 decibels of sound when running at full speed. Not only are the crescent-shaped turbines almost inaudible, they’re not readily visible, either. The tri-blade turbines were specially painted a grey-brown to match the hue of the iron lattice.
As one of the most desirable methods of renewable energy source in the world, wind energy and its development has spurred significant growth in the global wind energy market. In 2014, the market reached $165 billion, up more than $30 billion from the previous year. The market is expected to reach $250 billion in 2020, reflecting a five-year compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 7.2%.
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Wind Energy: Global Markets (EGY058B)