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Progressive Field wind turbine is removed, was Cleveland State University demo project

CLEVELAND, Ohio – The distinctive, plastic-corkscrew wind turbine mounted atop the southeast corner of Progressive Field was removed last Thursday, one year after it was installed.

Cleveland State University took it down much earlier than planned because it was damaged – ironically from the wind.

When operating, it points into the wind. But over the winter, when it was shut down, high winds cracked some plastic panels, said CSU spokesman Joe Mosbrook.

The university decided to remove the turbine before the start of baseball season because plastic pieces could have broken off and injured fans, he said.

The turbine was to have operated at least two years. But it was there long enough to demonstrate that the concept would work, he said.

The 3,000-pound aluminum frame, covered with white plastic pieces to form a helix, was mounted atop the ballpark’s southeast corner, near East Ninth Street and Carnegie Avenue, on March 28, 2012. Four turbines, each 7 feet across with five blades in each disc, were attached to the sides of the spiral, which rose 40 feet above the upper concourse.

The Cleveland Indians had agreed to host the new turbine as part of its commitment to sustainability, including adding solar panels to the stadium. The turbine was lighted within by colored LED lights and was clearly seen by those at the ballpark and those traveling on Interstate 90.

The four mounted turbines generated more than 4.5 times more energy than if the turbines were operating without the helix, according to data collected by the university. Companies are interested in replicating the turbines on a much smaller scale and mounting them on top of telecommunications towers like a weathervane to generate electricity for the towers in case of emergency when the power goes out.