Paris Has Turned the Eiffel Tower Into a Wind Energy Machine

Turbines installed on the architectural icon are generating carbon-free electricity.

(Photo: UGE)

Feb 24, 2015· 1 MIN READ
Todd Woody is TakePart's editorial director, environment.

Just how serious is Paris about cutting the City of Light’s carbon footprint? Serious enough to install two wind turbines on the iconic Eiffel Tower.

The turbines, made by UGE, are not the giant windmill-type machines you see on wind farms. They look more like pieces of modernist sculpture, with blades that spin silently on a vertical axis.

(Photo: UGE)

Placed on the monument’s second level, 400 feet off the ground, the turbines can capture the wind from every direction and generate enough electricity to power the tower’s commercial operations. (Not directly, though. The 10,000 kWh of electricity produced by the turbines flow into the Paris grid.)

(Photo: UGE)

Admittedly, that’s not a whole lot of power. But UGE chief executive Nick Blitterswyk said the installation was as much about education as about energy. “The Eiffel Tower is arguably the most renowned architectural icon in the world,” he said in a statement. “When visitors from around the world see the wind turbines, we get one step closer to a world powered by clean and reliable renewable energy."

The wind turbines are just part of a green renovation of the 19th-century tower. Solar panels cover the roofs of visitor pavilions, and tanks capture rainwater to flush the tower’s toilets.