Strange structure at Fort Custer harnesses wind power
AUGUSTA, Mich. (NEWSCHANNEL 3) - We're giving you an exclusive look at a secret weapon being developed at a local military base.
It's at a military training center, so you might think it's part of national defense.
But as Aaron Dimick shows us, this new piece of technology is about creating energy.
It stretches nearly an entire city block and is high enough for airplane lights.
Just about every day at Fort Custer you can see soldiers stopped in their tracks, gawking at this mammoth beast.
"Just about everybody comments when they come on post as to what exactly this is," said Major Steve Wilson.
It's the first of its kind in North America, a giant funnel that sucks in wind and generates power.
"It's very much like a hydrodam, a dam squeezes water, ours squeezes wind to accelerate it, there's turbines where the wind is at its maximum. Because we're able to do this, we're able to put multiple turbines to harvest wind in a much for concentrated way," said Carla Scholz of Sheerwind.
Using the wind funnel and a new solar field, Fort Custer will be able to generate about 80 percent of their energy needs.
"Definitely a privilege to be at the tip of the spear when it comes to alternative energy programs when it comes to army installations. That's certainly noticed at the national level," said Major Wilson.
This will also really come in handy if there's an emergency.
"Because when the grid goes down, the Michigan Army National Guard must still have the ability to respond to assist local authorities with any domestic emergencies," said Major Wilson.
And maybe you could eventually see something like this in your own town.
"I'd like to look at it a little like you would a water tower, where it's something in our community that we pretty much don't notice them anymore, and hopefully they will be next to water towers, or integrated into water towers and producing energy," said Scholz.
The funnel is still being tested right now. They hope to have it online very soon.
Next month Fort Custer will be unveiling more plans for alternative energy use at the base.