Renewable and sustainable energy is one of the most important challenges currently facing mankind. Wind has made an increasing contribution to the world's energy supply mix, but still remains a long way from reaching its full potential. In this paper, we investigate the use of artificial evolution to design vertical-axis wind turbine prototypes that are physically instantiated and evaluated under approximated wind tunnel conditions. An artificial neural network is used as a surrogate model to assist learning and found to reduce the number of fabrications required to reach a higher aerodynamic efficiency. Unlike in other approaches, such as computational fluid dynamics simulations, no mathematical formulations are used and no model assumptions are made.