Electricity could grow on trees 215



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Now, this is something you don’t see every day – a tree! No wait, make that a wind-turning tree! Scratch that – an artificial tree that generates electricity…

This very cool invention could potentially change the way we generate electricity – and make it look good too. Some of us may live near or know someone in who lives near those unattractive wind turbines that make a horrible sound as they whirl around, but what if the wind turbines looked like trees and were silent?


Engineers in France have developed the Wind Tree which converts wind into watts. There are tiny blades in the tree’s ‘leaves’ that turn with the wind (in any direction) silently. A 26-foot prototype is currently installed in Brittany in northwestern France, with a hope to be spread throughout urban centres.

Each tree costs around $43,000 but can generate electricity of twice the amount of a conventional wind turbine due to its ability to convert power on winds with a speed of only 7.25 kph.

The Wind Tree could help to power urban design features such as lights, among other things, with a view to be much more powerful. Creator Jerome Michaud-Larivere said in the future he hopes to create another tree with natural fibres and roots, covered in photosensitive cells that can generate geothermal energy.

It’s no secret that global warming and climate change are a contentious topic in our world, so should Australia consider something as affordable and as unobtrusive as these wind trees?

Would you welcome or oppose the Wind Tree in your community if it meant that we could have clean, green energy? Tell us your thoughts below.

Starts at 60 Writers

The Starts at 60 writers team seek out interesting topics and write them especially for you.

  1. I think they are quite elegant and look very tranquil turning in the breezes. Now, phone towers …. they are ugly. why can’t they be designed to look like trees ?

    3 REPLY
    • There is a phone tower ‘tree’ in St Andrews Victoria….it’s a cute idea but doesn’t quite work lol

    • Totally agree – I think they look awe inspiring. Shame those for domestic use are still so expensive…

  2. they surround the mts near my inlaw’s in spain they look majestic and you can not hear them personally i can watch them four hours
    and the village owns them and the electricity bill is almost zero but if it can bettered even better

  3. They look much better than electricity poles and all the wires criss-crossing our streets. I don’t think they are ugly at all. Those big ugly electricity towers are an awful eyesore, not the wind turbines.

  4. I think they are majestic and beautiful. And I love the technology. They don’t whirl around ( has the writer ever been near a wind farm?), they spin very slowly. It is all to do with torque. I would be very happy to have wind turbines near me. They are way more attractive than mobile phone repeater towers, and high tension electricity pylons.

  5. As we bused through Scotland we saw numerous rolling hills of wind turbines. I found them quite elegant and they were out where there were no houses and dong more good than harm Kathryn Ryan.

  6. Actually, we have them all around our area in south east SA and I don’t think they look ugly at all. And, you have to get up really close to them to hear them. They provide power and don’t pollute the environment. What is more important; providing clean energy for our future or worrying about what something looks like.

    2 REPLY
    • Lol Ruth I was thinking of them today in our conversation when I realised where you lived. I like them too…

    • I remember them, Ruth, when I lived in Millicent. Never heard any noises from them and thought they looked spectacular. Not at all ugly.

  7. Joe Hockey talking!!!! Travel through Europe and they are everywhere – including the sea. Flying or cruising into Copenhagen these elegant creatures are there to greet you. Driving along the Federal Highway seeing the wind turbines in the distance you know you are almost home. Why does Australia appear to be the only country with such an adverse fear of wind turbines?

    3 REPLY
    • Fully agree. We also visited Denmark and other European countries were they are used. They are under-used in Australia whilst we have plenty of space.

    • We have seen documentaries of the ones in the sea, I think they look really good and they work! It’s the power companies who are dictating what the government should do. Toothless tigers, all governments.

    • You can’t blame the Gov.the ALP are the union, Wind turbines don’t need workers, power stations and coal mines do, hence the Gov’s. Objection.

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