Urban Wind Turbines

As wind-farms become more common, the term ‘wind turbine’ conjures up the image of the familiar, three-rotor design seen on hill-tops and, increasingly, out to sea.

As wind-farms become more common, the term ‘wind turbine’ conjures up the image of the  familiar, three-rotor design seen on hill-tops and, increasingly, out to sea. These turbines work well in high wind speeds and relatively smooth airflows: the technology matches the conditions where they are sited. The remoteness of these locations has allowed ever larger turbines to be built, generating significant amounts of electricity.

Urban areas can be very different.  Some sites – parks, riverbanks and edge-of-town areas – may have relatively high wind speeds and low turbulence: in these places, the same turbines that are found in wind farms may work well. However, elsewhere in urban areas, the presence of buildings and other features tends to cause turbulence, and average wind speeds tend to be lower. The challenge of urban wind turbine design is to harness these mixed wind conditions in useful ways.