When it was erected in 1889 (seven years after POWER magazine was founded), the iconic iron-lattice Eiffel Tower was meant to serve as the entrance arch of the World’s Fair—and designed to stand only 20 years, about the lifetime of a wind tower. Some 126 years and several renovations later, the Paris landmark has evolved another function: power production.

This February, renewable energy firm Urban Green Energy (UGE) International completed the installation of two 17-foot-tall wind turbines inside the metal scaffolding of the tower. The two UGE VisionAIR5 vertical axis turbines, which produce 10,000 kWh annually, are specially painted to match the tower (Figure 5).

5. Eiffel power. Wind turbines installed on the iconic Eiffel Tower in Paris will generate enough energy to power its first floor. Courtesy: Urban Green Energy

According to UGE, mounting the turbines 400 feet above ground level (to maximize energy production) was a “technical challenge.” It required each component to be hoisted individually by hand and pulley and suspended with rope above the tower’s second level.

The new turbines are just part of a $33.6 million green makeover. When complete, the tower will also feature LED lights and an array of solar panels to heat half of the hot water it uses.

Sonal Patel, associate editor