Wind Power Can Change the World -- Why Aren't We Investing In It?

Alternet - Jim Dehlsen, America’s most successful wind power innovator and entrepreneur, has been tilting at windmills since the early 1980s.

Back then, he installed one of the largest wind farms in the world in the mountains near Mojave, Calif., where a strong gust could snap a windmill blade in two. He called it his “Victory Garden.”

Today, at 73, Dehlsen is producing one of the most advanced and efficient windmills in the world, employing 300 people at a plant in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. And he is building a plant in England to manufacture the largest offshore windmill in the world, creating 500 green jobs.

Like Don Quixote of La Mancha, the errant knight of windmill fame, Dehlsen is on a life’s quest, propelled by the vision of a moral world — by his definition, a planet that is much less dependent on coal and oil.

Now, he is drawing on his expertise in wind to explore the untapped energy of the sea. With his son Brent, Dehlsen has designed an underwater “windmill” to harvest the unstoppable flow of the Gulf Stream off Florida. For the wind-whipped waters off the U.S. West Coast, the Dehlsens have designed a grid of floating pods equipped with pistons to capture the energy in the rise and fall of the waves.

In his lifetime, Jim Dehlsen hopes to see the ocean powering American homes and providing American jobs.

“We’re determined to make it happen,” he said. “I really want to see this in deployment. The continental shelf off the coast of Florida extends out 20 miles, and flowing over it is a river that has a constant flow equal to 50 times all the rivers of the planet. It’s just tremendous. It’s always there.” Read more.


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