This past Tuesday, President Bush signed the Energy Independence and Security Act into law. Among its many provisions, the Act will help states provide grants to “fund local initiatives, including building and home energy conservation programs, energy audits, fuel conservation programs … and alternative energy programs.”
Wind is one of the alternative energy sources that the government has in mind. A December 13, 2007 article from The New York Times states that the bill has the potential to “offer a 30 percent federal tax credit on turbine purchases, up to $4,000” for residents. However, as TNAC’s Laura Tepper discussed in the Spring 2007 article, “Gone With the Wind Farm,” residents are often unhappy with the idea of having wind turbines so close to home. The structures typically range from 33 to 100 ft. tall, which leads to complaints regarding obstruction of sunlight and scenic views, constant noise and the possible lowering of property value.
The solution to this problem is new wind turbine designs that are less obtrusive to people in the immediate surroundings. For example, the wind turbines that Mayor Richard Daley of Chicago plans to place on the roof of the Daley Center have a cylindrical corkscrew design that provides a more pleasing appearance and higher energy efficiency. Unfortunately, due to cost, the Daley Center turbine plan has been in the drafting process for over a year now.
Ben Storan’s turbine design utilizes turbulent airflow
that is common in urban areas.
Photo courtesy of Treehugger.com
Those with a tighter budget than the mayor of Chicago may want to look at these interesting designs: The Stormblade Turbine is smaller, quieter and less of a threat to wildlife than the traditional windmill turbine. The compact Architectural Wind turbine captures wind that travels up the side of a city building. And this award-winning vertical design by Ben Storan utilizes turbulent airflow that is common in urban areas.
And as for the future of wind energy, keep an eye the children that come out of the KidWind project, an initiative that encourages students to contemplate and create designs that harness the power source. With backing from the Energy Independence and Security Act, these could be the people that riddle city rooftops with wind turbines in the decades to come.