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By zyx Rationalist
Create a huge cone shaped Helium balloon with a big funnel like opening in the center. Now place a wind turbine in its center to generate electricity, tie this structure to ground and release it up at a very high altitude to get high-speed winds. Ropes should be tied in such a way that the concave side of the balloon faces the direction of coming wind.

The Concave shape will trap more wind and will result in greater efficiency of turbine. At high altitude there is more wind (look at kites). No need of high (expensive) towers and can be easily placed in cities.

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By Steve
I think the problem is that there has to be some kind of resistance. A wind turbine floating in the air would be blown away instead of producing much electricity.
By AaronAgassi
Obviously, the idea is that there would be mooring to the ground or to the top of a skyscraper.
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By Michael D. Grissom
..and the mooring could be the dual 10 inch (or bigger) diameter stranded copper cables required to get the power from the turbine back to the ground. These combined with the massive weight of the generators and turbine blades would weigh at least as much as a small ship and that would require a ballon bigger than the city it was attached to. Also, helium losses in a ballon that size would probably require as much power to regenerate helium as the ballons turbines could produce.

Maybe a better approach would be to construct the shell of the ballon out of a static generating material which would produce hundreds of thousands of volts to be fed down a single relatively thin copper clad steel mooring line to ground where it could be transformed into distribution voltages. That would eliminate massive cables, turbines, and blades (all the airbourne weight). All you would need in the air is one giant ballon at high altitude and one mooring cable. Everything else is on the ground.
That might work! hmmmmmm

Where's Tesla when we need him?
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By FlatTop808
Umm, last I checked, Tesla was still dead.
By AaronAgassi
Perhaps it would be simplest simply to build light weight wind farms on the rooftops.

Then again, perhaps the first question ought to be, do we need power generation for the city any nearer the city, physically. Or, indeed, the reverse, farther away? Perhaps what we have here are solutions in search of a problem! And a proper brainstorm might better begin by definition of a problem.
By Stig Bakke's brother Stig
Wind farms on rooftops would generate a whole lot of noise pollution where you don't want it, though...
By AaronAgassi
Then perhaps wave powered turbines in the harbor...
By mtd28student
I saw a similar idea to this, and i think that it was going to be done in austraila. Instead of using a ballon or anything like that to get lift they used the action of the blades. In other words they were tethered gyrocopters.
From memory they had 4 blades that used the wind to spin them. The spining action created lift that kept the structure in the air as well as driving a turbine that made electricity.

These things flew high. somewhere in km high, where the wind stream was permanent.

I am not sure how they would get them down for mantainance, i supose you would have to design them so that they would auto rotate on the way down (Like helicopters do when there engine stops)

try googling it to get some more info.
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By Michael D. Grissom
Teathered wind supported windmills in the sky similar but simpler than massive kites with thousand/millions of power generating moving parts. What a fantastic idea! One of the only forseen problems with both is that rare occation when the wind aloft momentarily dies which might easily be solved by filling the blades or kite with a lighter than air gas. The other unforseen problem is that as a current pilot with the worlds most horrible luck I'll probably bring the first few prototypes down. If anyone wishes to try this project -- I will personally ground myself to the highest bidder.
By mtd28student
What about desgining the buildings in a city so that they funnel the wind. The wind could be concentrated on to a series of turbines that lie between two buildings. (for example between the "late" world trade center towers) It might not be very practical, but it would be good marketing ploy for a company that sells them selves as being enviromenatly friendly. Along with solar panels on the roof the whole office could be self sufficient.[/quote]
By AaronAgassi
Ever seen Chicago from the air? A massive rectilinear grid form, it looks like V'ger! That's because while most cities spring up and grow haphazardly, when Chicago burnt down it was built afresh according to a plan. And now, with it's great canyons of steel and glass channeling the air flow, Chicago is, indeed, the Windy City! The ideal home for your turbines.
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