Power From the People at Minnesota Fair


Spending almost my entire life on the coastal U.S., the concept of state fairs in the Midwest is somewhat foreign to me. Far as I can tell, entire states take off two weeks at the end of the summer to eat corn dogs and deep-fried Mars Bars and polish their Whack-A-Mole skills. Right?

A regular at the Minnesota fair, WCCO Minneapolis is attempting to power its newscasts solely by human exertion. The station is inviting viewers to take a seat on one of eight bikes and peddle away. Each bike is connected to a generator, and the energy the bikers create is stored into batteries. Once 10,000 watts is produced, the battery power is converted into electricity, and all the lights, camera, mics and equipment in a 30-minute newscast can run on this battery power. 

And should that fail, WCCO general manager Susan Adams Loyd will drive a DeLorean really fast and hope for lightning. 

"Everyone is talking about energy, the environment and global warming these days," said Loyd. "We had this crazy idea–why not see if we could power a newscast with energy produced by fair goers?"

Dubbed We Power, WCCO will be riding on bike power today through September 3.