Lots of people take issue with wind power systems. They're unsightly, loud, can be unreliable if the wind slows down, and their windmills kill innocent birds. A company called Magenn aims to change all that with the Magenn Air Rotor System (MARS), a helium-filled floating wind turbine that operates 1,000 feet off the ground. As the balloon-turbine spins, generators covert the wind power into electricity and then send it down a copper wire to be used or stored at ground level.
Normal wind turbines are only built to 400 feet, low enough that they are subject to "ground turbulence." Apparently at 1,000 feet there is a regular flow of wind pretty much anywhere in the world, not just in Holland or off the coast of Massachusetts. MARS won't kill wildlife — since each balloon is "bigger than a house," birds know to avoid them. According to the company, the system's noise level is on par with that of an office air conditioner.
MARS balloons probably won't replace current wind turbines, but since they can be deployed anywhere quickly they could be used for disaster relief and to provide energy in very rural places with no need for a larger energy infrastructure. Magenn plans to begin manufacturing its turbines next year.