Monday, March 9, 2009

A Design Case Study: Windfarms & Palm Springs

As part of our short drive from Ontario Airport in LA to Palm Springs last month, we had the pleasure of driving through San Gorgonio Mountain Pass. This stretch of mountains is the third highest in California and the pass is a natural wind tunnel, with strong winds most of the year. This windfarm makes enough power to supply Palm Springs and the surrounding areas.

I was FASCINATED! As a resident of Texas, with family in Dallas, we often see semitrailers loaded with wind turbine parts. They are huge. But I had not seen a wind farm until we reached Palm Springs. This most amazing fact is that the tallest wind turbines are 150 feet tall, with the blades at 1/2 of a football field. When you are driving through, you sense they are big, but not that big.

The designer in me took great notice in how the use of three colors; white, black and grey, affected the landscape. See what you think -

The largest and all white ones are up on the ridge. The lower ones (medium) have a black "A" Frame structure - see how the bases disappear in the landscape?
These are my favorite color, grey. You can still see them, but they are more subtle in the landscape versus the white. I'm not sure why the color difference, but for this terrain, I know which one I'd vote for. How about you?

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