As part of our ongoing investigation of viable and sustainable solutions to generating alternative power, our heads really turned when we came across this proposal for a power-generating “wind dam” by UK architects Chetwoods Associates. The Wind Dam Project uses a giant spinnaker sail suspended in a mountain gorge near Northern Russia’s Lake Ladoga. The £2.5 million dam will include a unique cup-shaped spinnaker sail, an original design, which will capture and harness wind to generate renewable energy by funneling wind through an attached turbine.

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The spinnaker shape is similar to the mainsail of a yacht, and is thought to be particularly effective in capturing the wind with it’s kite-like properties. Project architect Laurie Chetwood stated that the shape of the sail was influenced by functionality and a desire to produce something “sculptural”. “The sail looks like a bird dipping its beak into the water, which will be much less of a blot on this beautiful and unblemished landscape…It is also highly effective at capturing the wind because it replicates the work of a dam and doesn’t let the wind escape in the way it does using traditional propellers.”

If the project is approved by next year, the wind dam will be approximately 25m high and will span 75m wide. Chetwood Associatesis also looking at applying for planning permission for another project in a nearby gorge of the Lake Ladoga region. If all moves forward, we could be sailing into the future with solutions that are as poetic and imaginative as they are practical and environmentally grounding.

+ Chetwood Associates

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