You can imagine that when some brave soul first made the suggestion that they could put wind turbines on the Eiffel Tower it would have been greeted with either stony silence or total uproar. It’s impossible to think the response would have been ambivalent!
It would have conjured instant images of the iconic structure with propellor-like blades spinning off the sides like some crazed aircraft concept from the days of the Wright brothers.
But what is so beautiful about the fact that they have indeed now fitted the more than 1000ft high tower with turbines is that it demonstrates to the world how renewable energy projects can be incorporated in the most imaginative of places without detracting from them.
Far from the great twirling blades of the kind we’re used to on the traditional wind turbine, these are a vertical axis model installed by New York company, Urban Green Energy. They are apparently virtually silent and have even been painted to match the steelwork of the tower, which they are tucked neatly inside.
They are not powering the whole structure, rather producing enough energy for the first floor commercial areas, but they are forming part of a mix of renewables used at the Eiffel Tower which are demonstrating a proof of concept to the world. The monument is playing its part in meeting France’s renewable energy targets and that’s a powerful signal to send to anyone who doubts that old and new can sit comfortably together for these purposes.
What it says is that nothing should be ruled out anymore when it comes to renewing or installing a heat source. There’s no need to stick to the status quo. Why replace an oil boiler with the same when a sustainable wood pellet solution would be more efficient, more cost effective and more responsible?