A Massachusetts start-up is trying to develop a wind turbine sized between the backyard ones that are mostly a flop and the huge ones that are great at generation but unpopular with neighbors. EnergyNews story is here.

A New England startup is betting its small turbines will be an easier sell in the state, offering a potential complement or alternative to rooftop solar but with a much lower profile than conventional wind farm blades.

Pecos Wind Power, based in Somerville, Massachusetts, won the DeltaClimeVT energy business accelerator competition last year, leading to a partnership with Vermont’s municipal power wholesaler. The company is developing an 85-kilowatt turbine that will stand about 120 feet tall with a rotor diameter of 30 meters — closer to a roller coaster than the skyscraper-sized towers now standard in the industry.

So-called “small wind” has never taken off because wind turbines’ effectiveness is almost entirely a function of size – the bigger the swept area of the blades, the more efficient and useful they are. In almost all situations small turbines of below, say, 20 kilowatts end up being too expensive to install and maintain for the power they produce.

This is a shame because wind is a good balance for balance much of the year, picking up after the sun sets. Mid-sized turbines that are efficient enough to be useful but not visually overwhelming would be a very good thing to have.

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