Here's the down side of increased renewables: It means an increase in unsightly overhead power lines. And if you can't put them underground (which isn't always feasible), the answer might lie in turning an eyesore into a triumph of design.

Germany is abandoning nuclear and embarking on a big renewables push, but to make it work they'll need "energy autobahns" to transmit power — large networks of overhead lines that are just crying out to be blocked by NIMBYism. Power masts that focus as much on aesthetics as on functionality might be the answer. I'm fond of the striking "Mirror Wall" above, but it's hard to beat the giant reindeer presiding over a town in Norway. (These took first and second place respectively in a Norwegian design contest.) I want to name him Waldo!

 

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