Wind turbines. When they appear they are mostly the horizontal type with three long, rotating blades, although vertical-axis, helical-bladed examples are showing up more in science fiction. They can be an expression of environmental themes, and a symbol of old technology—windmills—meeting modernity, in that they make electricity.
They make for striking imagery against a blue or dramatically cloudy sky—or when used in large numbers. In other words, they make for great Scenery Porn. Anime and manga are two media where the trope is popular, particularly in more recent works.
Compare Everything's Better with Spinning.
- ARIA. Three words: "Hill of Hope". Amano also likes on put wind turbines on the covers.
- A Certain Magical Index series: Wind turbines appear prominently, even though Academy City is really not that windy. In one of the Railgun DVD specials, Mikoto goes on an extended rant about how impractical they are for an inland city and eventually concludes that they are actually consuming power in order to spin as part of a massive government conspiracy involving aliens and Mars. They do come in pretty handy to dissipate Accelerator's plasma ball, though.
- Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind: Whenever the eponymous valley is shown.
- Real Drive has a sequence where several turbines have to be turned on.
- Psychic Academy had honeycombed wind turbines stacked upon the titular school to give the whole setting a twenty minutes into the future flair. The series is from 1999.
- Planetes: Ai Tanabe's childhood was spent playing among her father's windmills in the manga version.
- In Mobile Suit Gundam SEED, Lacus Clyne sings in a music video that has wind turbines in the background. The video is repeatedly shown throughout the show.
- In Sonic X, Sonic blazes past a bunch of these, the resulting gust rapidly spinning them. It seems to make the city lights even brighter, and he notes how pretty said lights are from above.
- The city in Puella Magi Madoka Magica has this as part of its extensive, varied landscape.
- LaRousse City, setting of Pokémon: Destiny Deoxys, features a forest of wind turbines in its outskirts.
- The end of Chocolate sees Zen and her father walking along the ocean with a row of wind turbines at their side as she holds her own little pinwheel.
- Mack passes by a pretty large field of wind turbines in Cars on his way to Los Angeles.
- Per Word of God, the multitude of blimps/kites dotting San Fransokyo's skies in Big Hero 6 is a field of wind turbines.
- Artemis Fowl has a reference to a super-effective wind turbine with solar panels on it.
- Wind turbines are very prominent in Kamen Rider Double, as wind energy powers much of the City of Adventure.
- In Samurai Sentai Shinkenger, one of these continues the episode's theme of Everything's Better with Spinning, which proves that thinking they'd escaped the virtual world earlier was in fact one more illusion.
- Nintendo seems to be fond of this trope lately:
- Alternative energy seems to be a big deal in Sinnoh, so it makes sense that wind turbines would make an appearance in Pokémon Diamond and Pearl. Wind turbines also appear in New Bark Town (but only in the remakes) and Nuvema Town of Pokémon Black and White.
- In Wii Sports Resort, a set of wind turbines are used as the sole source of electricity on Wuhu Island.
- From SimCity 2000 onward, wind turbines are a cheap source of clean energy, but have to be constructed in bunches in order to be effective.
- Halo: Reach features vertical-axis turbines in its first level, powering highland farms.
- In No More Heroes, Letz Shake is fought in a wind farm, and the area is shown in the starting theme too.
- Persona 3: Wind turbines are visible from the roof of Gekoukan High School. They can also be seen on the map screen.
- You can build windmills in Civilization IV. In the pre-modern eras, they appear as the classic old European windmill - stone tower, big sails on a wooden framework. When you reach the Modern era, they transform into modern wind turbines.
- In Flower, most of Dream 3 revolves around powering up wind turbines so they can blow wind and help progression within the level.
- There is a mission in Borderlands which requires the player to activate several wind turbines which have been shut off ("Braking Wind"). Wind turbines often appear in the background, as well.
- Quite a few levels in Ace Combat games have them dotted round the landscape, such as Mission 4 in Ace Combat 04: Shattered Skies and Mission 14 in Ace Combat Zero: The Belkan War.
- Subverted with Ace Combat 5: The Unsung War in which Mission 8 has a damaged transport attempting an emergency landing, which unfortunately happens in the middle of a wind farm, and requires you to destroy any turbines the plane might crash into.
- The original Silent Hill has a unique example. The Otherworld streets, in addition to being full of nightmarish delusions and pulse-pounding music, contain many rusted functioning windmills that inexplicably jut haphazardly from the abyss under the town's now steel-grating "streets". Good to know even some ancient demons are thinking green, despite being one of the physically darkest alternate worlds within the series, with next to no working lamps other than our hero's flashlight.
- In the Myst series, the D'ni seemed to be very fond of green energy from the get-go. The first game has a windmill being used to pump water throughout the Channelwood Age to power some elevators and an extending bridge, the Cleft in Uru runs off a vertical turbine, and the factory in Er'Cana seems to use one as well, although the model used for the latter isn't very well-rendered.
- Used in the background of one of the levels of World of Goo, and for good measure, you have to avoid one of the turbines to keep your goo structure intact, while enduring a harsh wind. The mysterious Sign Painter mentions that these turbines weren't enough to power the world.
- There is a wind farm north of Los Santos in Grand Theft Auto V. As terrain is not destructible and the wind turbines count as terrain, it is not recommended for aerial vehicles to stray too close. This can be helpful if making a last stand against the police as their intent is always to flys towards those with 3 stars or above ... There are a few race maps as well with the tracks positioned in and around the blades - player vehicles don't treat being hit by indestructible scenery any better than the police copters do ...
- In Fallout 4 you can spot scrap-metal windmills here and there across the Commonwealth, usually as part of a Gunner stronghold on an elevated highway. You can build some yourself to power your settlements, and though they're bulky and don't generate a lot of electricity, they're much less noisy than a smoke-belching oil-powered generator or fusion reactor, which will keep your settlers happy.
- In the Far Harbor DLC, windmills become a plot point. The island setting features a pre-War, experimental wind farm, part of a much-too-late effort to switch to green energy during a global oil shortage. It still works and provides Far Harbor with electricity, which is crucial for powering the devices that keep an irradiated fog and the monsters that lurk within it from rolling over the town and killing everyone. One of the ways you can resolve the conflict on the island is to locate and use a killswitch to disable the wind farm, dooming Far Harbor.
- Karnaca, the main setting of Dishonored 2, makes widespread use of wind power in order to take advantage of its unique geography- namely, the near-constant winds the blow over and down the nearby mountain. The windmills come in two flavors- smaller ones used to power single buildings or security devices, and larger ones used for industrial applications. The former can (sometimes) be taken advantage of by the player to bypass certain obstacles. The latter are aided by the addition of massive trenches and tubes, constructed to funnel the currents into their blades. It's noted in-universe the renewable energy they provide is a MASSIVE strategic advantage when compared to the rest of the Empire, especially one in the midst of an acute whale oil shortage.