A Tale of Two Different Wind Turbine Designs In Big Wind Storm

Helix Wind, a wind energy company which recently mentioned plans to install small wind turbines atop cell phone towers in California, is taking time today to crow about how its non-traditional looking turbines did in recent windstorms in San Diego. Its S322 model, it seems, withstood 60 mph winds, while a more regular wind blade style farm nearby took reportedly some heavy damage.

The Campo Kumeaay Nation wind farm project, reported the San Diego Union-Tribune, can produce enough energy for over 32,000 homes when fully operating. It took damage in December after a storm “caused catastrophic damage” to up to 75 wind turbine blades across 25 of the “20-story-high” turbines. The turbines, designed to “stop spinning at winds above 50 mph,” took some “blade cracking” damage throughout the project. Helix, with a nearby test site on the Campo Indian Reservation, said that its turbines, which were monitored remotely, “withstood sustained winds up to 62 mph during the storm, continuing to generate electricity normally.”

image via Helix

image via Helix

What’s not immediately mentioned by Helix, though, is the size of its “test site” compared to the other wind farm, or how much energy they are trying to generate. That being said, Helix makes an interesting argument in that “while large commercial wind farms grab most of the headlines” with their horizontal axis wind turbines (HAWTs), “small wind turbines, particularly vertical axis wind turbines (VAWTs), are proving their worth” in being “designed for operation under the most punishing of conditions (up to 100 mph).”

I am the editor-in-chief and founder for EarthTechling. This site is my desire to bring the world of green technology to consumers in a timely and informative matter. Prior to this my previous ventures have included a strong freelance writing career and time spent at Silicon Valley start ups.