Last week, reports came out that the Carteret Islanders of Papua New Guinea, the world’s first official climate-change refugees, had left their island home for good. The island is expected to be totally underwater by 2015.
This milestone was yet another reminder that we desperately need to switch over to greener, renewable energy sources. One of the most popular energy sources, wind energy, is often derided because a) it’s ugly, b) it can cause serious harm to local birds who fly into the turbine blades and get hurt or killed, and c) wind doesn’t blow all the time, so it’s unreliable. These are all fair points (though it’s beyond me how a windmill is uglier than a power plant), but Altaeros Energies may have the answer: BATs.
Buoyant Airborne Turbines, to be exact. They’re basically large balloons with wind turbines in them. They’re inflated and can be deployed to high altitudes, where wind is much more dependable, where they’re for the most part out of eyesight, and where they’re much less likely to cause damage to local birds and wildlife. They produce twice as much energy as regular wind turbines, and they also have the added benefit of being portable, which means they can harness wind energy in remote areas, or can be quickly moved to disaster-stricken areas that are going through power outages.
The first BAT is set to be launched in Alaska, and obviously there’ll be kinks to work out, but it’s definitely an exciting development for green energy.