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January 7th, 2010

Startup gets funding for two-bladed wind turbine

Published on January 7th, 2010 | By: pwray@ceramics.org

According to a press release, the Berkeley-based startup Nordic Windpower expects to change the landscape of wind farms. Within a few years, CEO Tom Carbone says, Californians may expect to see vistas altered by the erection of 300-foot-tall turbines equipped with two enormous blades that rotate more slowly than their three-bladed counterparts.

Just one of Nordic Windpower’s 1-megawatt turbines, Carbone said, can do the work of 8 to 10 of the Altamont models — and produce enough power for 250 to 300 households. Nordic also claims that its technology is more durable and reliable than rival two-blade turbines.

Nordic this week announced $38 million in a third-round of funding led by Khosla Ventures, with participation by New Enterprise Associates and other investors. Its total funding has not been disclosed.

The company is hardly typical of Silicon Valley. Founders Steve Taber and Jim Walker are renewable energy veterans who, recognizing the global demand for more turbines, did a global search that found a Swedish technology that included a flexible “teeter” hub and other advances that enabled the turbine to function more smoothly than rigid turbines.

Nordic’s founders initially were interested in licensing the technology, Carbone said, but ultimately raised money from London-based Goldman Sachs International to acquire it. To date, Nordic has shipped five of its turbines, including three to a utility in Uruguay. It has orders for 14 more. They are built in Pocatello, Idaho. Khosla partner Jim Kim joined Nordic’s board with the investment.



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