One sunny Friday I decided to take a closer look at Vancouver’s most visible renewable energy landmark – the Eye of the Wind turbine at Grouse Mountain. This is the world’s first power-generating turbine with a viewing platform. As your green blogging hippie, naturally I was curious. How much power does it make? Does it wobble? Is the view really worth a quarter-of-a-hundred dollars? Do they serve beer? Armed with my stealth video iPhone, I went to get some answers.

The Green Briefs Marketing Viewpoint: This tower is truly a remarkable structure, though it’s more of a symbol than a workhorse. As such, a higher public profile among the green-friendly would benefit both Grouse Mountain and Vancouver’s Green Capital status. (OK, technically it’s North Vancouver – but you get the idea) Imagine a promotion for a private green Valentine’s dinner in the pod at 4176 feet… or a contest for schoolkids to write an environmental essay and win a trip to the Eye for their whole class… These sorts of events would give this landmark the exclusive cachet it deserves. It would also be a good idea to connect locals with the idea of wind power generated right here, perhaps with an online contest to guess the date when the Eye reaches a selected amount of generated power. I hope the team at Grouse can keep this turbine positively in the eye of Vancouver’s many green fans. I for one would like to have an organic beer up there some day. (Hmmm… they didn’t check my pockets…)

More Details: The Eye of the Wind was a global project. Conceived and assembled in Canada, designed in Italy, tower made in the USA and Korea, viewpod designed and constructed in France, elevator from Denmark, controls made in Mexico, machine carrier assembly made in Austria, and the 12,000lb carbon fiber blades were made in Finland. It transfers power with a gearless assembly, and is pinned to the mountain with 32 anchors that run 15 meters deep. Check out some cool construction shots here. The Eye of the Wind is part of the Blue Grouse sustainability program, which also includes snowcats that run on biodiesel, recycling programs, organic food options, fair trade coffee and water conservation.

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