New world record a tall order

How tall things are is a big deal to toddlers.

My daughters ask almost every day if we can put a new marker on our door-jam height ruler. When we play blocks, the towers ...

Tagged: wind turbines, germany, tall turbines

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New world record a tall order

Cute toddler builds tall tower of blocks

In addition to some pretty great bragging rights (our tower is taller than yours!), the tall towers have energy benefits. The wind is generally stronger and more consistent higher in the sky. That means a tall tower can produce more energy than its shorter counterparts.

Key Points

  • Germany built the world’s tallest wind turbine.
  • The tall towers take advantage of stronger, more-consistent wind higher in the sky.
  • The towers also have water reservoirs to store electricity. 

How tall things are is a big deal to toddlers.

My daughters ask almost every day if we can put a new marker on our door-jam height ruler. When we play blocks, the towers are built to be beautiful, and, of course, tallest in the whole kingdom. And I’m frequently asked if someday “I’ll be taller than you.”

It seems even engineering professionals are in on the height intrigue.

A team in Germany recently built the world’s largest wind turbines. I’m sure my little ones would approve of its impressive 809-foot height from base to tip of the blade.

In addition to some pretty great bragging rights (our tower is taller than yours!), the tall towers have energy benefits. The wind is generally stronger and more consistent higher in the sky. That means a tall tower can produce more energy than its shorter counterparts.

The new towers are more than tall and beautiful. They’re smart too.

They’re part of a pilot project that aims to solve wind’s reliability challenge.

Since we need energy even when the wind isn’t blowing, wind farms usually require some sort of back-up power. And building extra power plants just to kick in when the wind dies down makes wind less affordable.

The technology in these towers could help solve that.

They have water tanks built into them. When the turbines are making more power than people need, some of that energy is used to pump water from a reservoir up into the tanks. Then, when the wind isn’t blowing, or there’s a larger than normal demand for energy, the water can be released back down into the reservoir. As the water pours downhill, it goes through its own turbine that spins and makes electricity.

Whether building with blocks in your living room — or state-of-the art wind turbines in Germany — it seems taller really is better.


Sarah FolslandSarah is mom to the two cutest little girls in the world. Before choosing to make changing diapers and reading bed time stories her full time gig, she earned a degree in political science from The University of South Dakota, worked in the governor’s office as a policy analyst and dabbled in communications at her local utility. Follow Sarah on Twitter @EnergyMommy.

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