What’s the Difference Between a Propeller and a Wind Turbine?

They’re both fan-shaped things that push wind to create energy, just one uses it to generate propulsion, the other makes electricity. Only one can be used to get the bad guy during a fight with Indiana Jones, though.

So, of course it makes sense that former aerospace manufacturers are turning to wind turbines as a way to put their capacity to work. There’s actually two stories in between the lines here, though:
1) The “Looking Beyond the Boeing Economy/how can we transition all this manufacturing to new opportunities (like the green economy)” story.


2) The “Hey, there’s all this green economy stuff going on but how do we turn it into a sustainable industry cluster/jobs provider” story.

I think the second part is really interesting and important, and fits in with a larger theme in our region with other industries: we develop and use all sorts of new products, but we’re not usually the manufacturers. Biotech is a perfect example; when we develop a new drug or nanophotonic device, it’s always mass produced somewhere else because of the cheaper cost of land and labor.

I know that a lot of folks have been thinking about how we use recovery dollars to create actual industry clusters here. For example, a lot of jurisdictions are going to use their Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant dollars to purchase LED streetlights, but they’re going to buy them from somewhere else because we don’t make them here. Or what about all the stuff I was talking about yesterday with electric vehicles; could we make them here or at least be a leader in battery manufacturing?

Cheers to the CAMPS folks for taking a lead on making that happen with wind turbines.


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