In this paper, a method is proposed to improve the energy efficiency of the vertical axis turbine. First of all, a single disk multiple stream-tube model is used to calculate individual fitness. Genetic algorithm is adopted to optimize blade pitch motion of vertical axis turbine with the maximum energy efficiency being selected as the optimization objective. Then, a particular data processing method is proposed, fitting the result data into a cosine-like curve. After that, a general formula calculating the blade motion is developed. Finally, CFD simulation is used to validate the blade pitch motion formula. The results show that the turbine’s energy efficiency becomes higher after the optimization of blade pitch motion; compared with the fixed pitch turbine, the efficiency of variable-pitch turbine is significantly improved by the active blade pitch control; the energy efficiency declines gradually with the growth of speed ratio; besides, compactness has lager effect on the blade motion while the number of blades has little effect on it.