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Consumer Electronics Show: Housebroken wind turbines from Urban Green Energy

January 8, 2011 | 10:00 am

Urbangreenenergy After rooms and rooms of gadgets and gizmos, seeing a wind turbine in the middle of the Consumer Electronics Show floor in Las Vegas was like a breath of fresh air.

Initially, though, the Eddy from Urban Green Energy looks more like an abstract sculpture. Or maybe something out of a sci-fi movie.

Such machines, known as vertical wind turbines, have traditionally been confined to remote farmland and hills because of their towering size.  But at just under 9 feet tall, the Eddy could provide clean electricity from a pole in a yard or on the roof at a home, office or other urban building.

Buyers would have to fork over $4,000 -- at least -- but the turbine can withstand blasts of wind up to 120 miles per hour and lasts for 20 years, its maker claims. And installation takes less than an hour and government rebates are available for at least 30% of the cost.

The New York-based company also makes other turbines ranging from 6 feet tall to 43 feet. The machines could offer city and suburban consumers a renewable energy alternative to solar panels. After all, there seems to be a surge lately in portable or small-scale clean-tech innovations.

But wait -– Urban Green Energy already thought of that. The turbines can apparently be joined up to existing solar power infrastructure. And another product form the company –- the Sanya -– is a hybrid wind- and solar-powered LED street lamp that was recently installed outside the San Francisco Civic Center.


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-- Tiffany Hsu

Photo: Urban Green Energy