Commentary on urban wind

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William Fabian

Sep 30, 2011, 11:45:04 AM9/30/11
to re ccnet
Another article regarding the complications of urban wind power generation compared to photovoltaics. With the fall of module prices, at the residential and light commercial level, solar has become even more cost effective than wind and without the operational worries and zoning hassels that come with owning a wind turbine. The link for the "dashboard" did not paste over so here it is:
The Natural Resources Defense Council named the City of Reno a 2010 Smarter City for Energy for a number of green energy projects, including small wind turbines on City Hall. The turbines were part of an initiative with the Department of Energy that studied urban wind.
The city is now eight months into a DOE-funded study that not only demonstrates the efficiency of small wind turbines but also makes data available to residents to help them make purchasing decisions. Nine turbines are currently being tested at four locations throughout Reno -- City Hall, Mira Loma Park, Stead Wastewater Plant and a parking garage. Each turbine is a different make and model and is being evaluated for efficiency with measurements including wind currents and speed, peak times and total output.
The data from the turbine testing is being made available through the Green Energy Dashboard online and a Wind Resource Map.
“Right now, we only have very preliminary data,” says Jason Geddes, the environmental services administrator for the City of Reno. “What we have found, though, is that roof-mounted turbines, like the ones on City Hall, have experienced more turbulence than anticipated and shouldn’t be installed on the parapet, but high enough above the roof to get out of the turbulence zone.”
Geddes also says that the areas they thought would be windy haven’t been windy enough to be a good energy source for consumers. The completion date for the study is December 2015. In addition to wind, the city is testing solar panels.

Bill Fabian
Midstate Renewable Energy Srvc.
PO Box 6345
Champaign, IL 61826

Andy Robinson

Sep 30, 2011, 2:53:16 PM9/30/11
Good info, Bill.
I totally agree, although I didn't see production from any of the turbines.  If they'd been up for 8mo, I would have thought there was something.  Oh, the front page is current kW production, not kWh.  Well, that's silly to show there.  You have to click to "installations/comparison charts" and select a year to see the cumulative production.  

Since it's a good and windy day in IL, it's a good time to take a look at the medium sized (100 kW) turbine at Richland in Decatur. Here is the link to their online dashboard (currently 26mph, 80kW):


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Sep 30, 2011, 3:00:31 PM9/30/11

You can see the daily, monthly and yearly production numbers. Just give it time to load up. I agree the site in a little confusing but it does give a lot of data. The data for each turbine will be under the unit on the left side of the screen. I had the same gripes at first.

The 100kW units are not exactly installed in urban environments and reflect the additional wind resource available, relatively turbulence free. They are a good example on siting and use.

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From: Andy Robinson <>
Date: Fri, 30 Sep 2011 13:53:16 -0500
Subject: Re: [CCNet renewable energy] Commentary on urban wind
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