Innovation That Matters

Wind power, still made here

Agriculture & Energy

Windunie (Dutch for wind union) is a collective of 230 wind turbine owners, most of whom are farmers who operate turbines as an extra source of income. All sell the energy they produce directly to consumers. Windunie’s customers can pick a specific farm they want to buy electricity from. Naturally, the electricity used by consumers in urban and suburban homes can’t be derived directly from a specific source. As Windunie explains: the sum of energy fed into a grid is like a pool of dirty water. When consumers buy sustainable energy, a bucket of clean water is thrown into the pool. More people buying energy from wind farmers means that slowly but surely, the pool clears up. Since the origin of energy coming through an outlet in the wall is mixed, buying from a specific producer is mainly an administrative affair. The farmers get certificates (‘Guarantee of Source’) detailing how much energy they’ve produced and standard electricity meters calculate how much energy is consumed in a home. The latter is deducted from the former, and a customer’s annual energy bill specifies ‘their’ wind turbine’s identification number. Much like the sweaters we featured a few months ago, Windunie’s product comes with a passport listing full details of the farmer whose land the turbine is on. Their name, year of birth, location, hobbies, etc. Which makes for a story consumers will share with friends, and creates a real sense of still made here: the comeback of all things local, surfacing in a world seemingly dominated by globalization. Like any small and local producer, Windunie’s farmers should milk every kilowatt of their authenticity. Holiday greetings from Big Utility Inc. seem insincere, but a Christmas card from your friendly wind farmer may earn a spot on the mantelpiece 😉 And with a bit of luck, being more intimately acquainted with the source of their electricity will make consumers more mindful of its usage, too. (Related: Consumer generated power and Full provenance sweaters.) Spotted by: Sheila Wigman



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