Barber, an inventor who holds more than 60 patents, says he started working on redesigning turbines about nine years ago because their car-sized gearboxes break. His version doesn’t have a gearbox. That means his device, which is also roughly a third smaller than its three-bladed commercial cousin, is more economical, he says.
His wife, Tammy Barber, who is BarberWind Turbines LLC’s owner and chief operating officer, says the $1.6 million BWT800kW turbine generates electricity costing 2.3 cents per kilowatt-hour. Offshore wind can run as high as 8.9 cents per kWh, according to Lazard, a global financial advisory and asset-management company.