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Energy Energy Wind

WOODEN WIND TURBINES: BROUGHT TO YOU BY EAZ-WIND

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by: Sharai Hoekema
WOODEN WIND TURBINES: BROUGHT TO YOU BY EAZ-WIND

A ‘wooden mill’ will undoubtedly bring up associations of the age-old, traditional mills of the Dutch type. Fierce, imposing wooden structures towering over the surrounding landscapes. Quite often, the wind turbines that are so common today pale in comparison. They stand out, with their unnatural materials and shapes. That is, until EAZ developed their unique wooden wind turbines.

This Netherlands-based company, originating from the rural area of Groningen, wanted to develop a wind turbine that could easily be set up in densely populated areas. Normally, some of these areas cannot afford an actual wind turbine. Not only are they too expensive, due to the expensive materials and the complicated process of installing and servicing it, they are also facing heavy resistance from the community. 

Effectively, this makes it hard to make wind energy solutions available in areas that do not have the required funds or social support. The only options left are solar panels or water power, which are usually not sufficient for providing in the electricity needs of the immediate area either. 

EAZ WIND TURBINES

wooden shelve in factory EAZ #windmill

As the need for renewable energy grows, so does the need for solutions that actually fit in to the area. And while ‘traditional’ wind turbines often do not fit in, the unique versions created by EAZ manage to blend in seamlessly. The design for their wind turbines have been made simpler, and much more cost-effective. Production is all performed in-house, using local labour and materials. As such, it will not nearly be as expensive to get the wind turbines produced.

These materials, sourced locally, include a number of sustainable components from natural sources - including the blades, which are made of larch wood and finished with fibreglass. The stabiliser is also made of wood, with an internal frame of steel for reinforcement. 

MAINTENANCE AND INSTALLATION

Not only are the materials largely sustainable, they are also chosen as they are relatively maintenance-free. For example, it also has a permanent magnet, a ring generator without gearbox, which means that there is no friction. The steel mast comes with a double coating, making it more durable.

The installation is performed quickly and with a minimal impact for the environment. For the generation of energy, the wind turbine will be connected to the fuse box right behind the electricity meter, resulting in further savings on the purchase price of electricity as well as energy tax.

SUPPORT OF LOCAL COMMUNITY

In another clever move, EAZ wind turbines decided to take the development process to the local authorities and communities. With this, they guaranteed their support and made sure that the eventual design would fit in the landscape. 

As the home turf of EAZ - the Dutch province of Groningen - is rapidly growing and expanding, as reflected by the improving economy, the region is becoming increasingly self-sustaining. More and more jobs are being created, putting pressure on local entrepreneurs to find ways of generating more energy in an efficient and sustainable manner.

PLACEMENT OF WIND TURBINE

EAZ #windmill in action

One of their options is the purchase of one of these wind turbines, made easier because of the reduced cost price and lower impact on the environment. This way, it can be installed on a farm to provide in the energy needs. Secondly, people could opt for joining an initiative where they invest in a common wind turbine for the entire village. In this case, everyone in the area can directly benefit from the locally generated wind energy.

Although these wind turbines might be better looking, it is still an infringement on the landscape. Therefore, EAZ has pledged to take great care in fitting it into the landscape. The already existing elements and lines are being taken into consideration, while the limited height ensures that it is less conspicuous.

WHY DOES ANY OF IT MATTER?

All well and good, but why would it matter what a wind turbine looks like? What does EAZ offer in an already crowded market that makes them stand out? Their continued success is a testament to the importance of keeping aesthetics and user demands in mind, so that wind turbines become more of a community product. The lower installation and maintenance costs, its adaptability to the landscape, and the decent yield: it adds up to a great proposition that is ready to scale up.

After all, the truth of the matter is that the general opinion of wind turbines is still far from favourable. Perhaps unjustly so, but that does not make it any more urgent. EAZ should be commanded for their attempts to sway the public opinion through making wind turbines more accessible and friendly.

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