Sunday, February 12, 2006

Wind Goes Urban

Wind turbines are going urban. Micro-wind turbines (up to 3 kW) aligned in rows on top of city buildings may not only prove to be cheaper than large-scale wind turbines but could soon compete with low-cost nuclear power. Global sales of large-scale wind turbines, 500 kW and above, are growing at an average annual rate of 30 percent plus. Analysts expect the growth rate of micro-wind turbine sales to quickly eclipse that of other renewable energies.

The small-scale wind sector is receiving a lot of attention as cities such as Manchester, England begin to install the first micro-wind farms on rooftops. In the United States, a recent C-Net article states that Chicago, Illinois-based Aerotecture is in negotiations to place micro-wind farms on top of the Daley Center in Chicago and under the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. Additionally, Atlanta, Georgia-based Ecoloft will be the first condominium development powered by wind.

As the urban wind concept takes off, micro-wind will benefit from economies of scale in production, according to a study by the Association for the Conservation of Energy, which concludes that micro-wind can ultimately compete with nuclear on costs per kWh—2 to 3 cents--in addition to the avoidance of costs associated with grid investment, transportation and distribution. Large-scale wind turbines can generate electricity at a cost of 5 cents/kWh today, down from 30 cents/kWh in the 1980s. Micro-wind turbine costs may initially range between 4 and 6 cents/kWh

Some of the companies gearing up to harness urban wind include Abundant Renewable Energy, Bergey WindPower, Clipper Windpower and Southwest Windpower. The CNet article also mentions Windside (Finland), Windsave (UK), Renewable Devices (UK) and Urban Turbines (Dutch).

1 comment:

Michael said...

Thanks for your posting. I'm helping to develop a website for urban wind energy in the UK (please see would be very grateful for your references. And for comments and additions from others.

Best wishes, Michael