For the past few years, governments have been trying to find ways to harness wind energy and determine where it’s most productive to locate wind turbines. Those answers could be found in a new iPhone app that gives users the power to find out how much electricity a wind turbine would produce at the current location of the mobile device.
Danish wind energy giant Vestas Wind Systems A/S rolled out the free app recently as part of an ongoing effort to support wind power projects worldwide. With information from public databases and sensors in more than 40,000 turbines around the world, the app uses GPS to triangulate the position of mobile phones. Given the phone’s coordinates, the app can deliver live weather data, detailed five-day forecasts and determine how much energy a wind turbine (specifically its V112-3.0 MW product) would generate and how much carbon dioxide it would save.
“It’s pretty simple,” Lars Christian Christensen, vice president of Plant Siting and Forecasting for Vestas Technology Research and Development said in a release. “We have so much knowledge that we can share with the broader public in a way that supports our product and our brand. This app gives extremely useful information for the end-user and at the same time we can promote wind.”
At the moment, the app is only available for the iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad. According to the company, the forecast models are run, maintained and verified internally by meteorologists at Plant Siting and Forecasting and calculated on the supercomputer at Vestas Technology Research and Development headquarters in Denmark.
In the U.S., wind turbines produce enough electricity during a typical day to power the equivalent of more than 9.7 million homes, according to Tom Welch, spokesman for the U.S. Department of Energy. And with the support of the department, numerous state and local governments have pushed clean energy projects to reduce energy use and save money as budgets remain tight.
Recently Reno, Nev., became one of the first cities in the nation to install windmills on a city hall roof. With wind, solar and energy-efficiency projects, city officials expect to reduce energy use by 25 percent and save $1 million a year.
“It’s a great thing to do to lower energy bills as much as you can,” said Jason Geddes, the city’s environmental services administrator, “and hedge against future increases in fossil fuel energy.”
Ever since Vestas installed its first wind turbine in 1979, the company has emerged as a dominant force in the wind-energy movement. In the future, the company plans to have versions of the new app, which also features customized weather alarms, available for Android and Windows phones.
“Wind is all we do,” Vestas said on its iTunes app website. “We are relentlessly committed to the success of wind as a source of energy for the world, providing everything needed for our partners to succeed in their wind power ambitions.”