Saturday, May 23, 2009

Small wind turbines for the city

Photo courtesy of Wind Simplicity

Before you say it, I know, wind turbines aren't something tenants can put up. But today, The Globe & Mail ran a story of mine about a new generation of small wind turbines that are much better suited to urban applications. And since the first comment to appear asked about links, I figured that Green Tenant could provide them.

To read the story, please click on this link to it.

What makes these turbines special is that they don't spin at super-high speeds. Older small turbines had been a bit of a safety hazard because of their speeds. Many of them don't require tall towers. Some spin horizontally to reduce wear. Others actually make use of the updraft from a roof. And they're all designed with gusty city winds in mind.

The turbine that inspired the story is the Wind Dancer. It's an award-winning Toronto creation from Wind Simplicity (

There's a nifty rooftop model from Wind Terra (

Also mentioned is the Skystream 3.7 (

If you're in a high-rise apartment and have a landlord with a sympathetic ear, you might want to mention that the first Wind Dancers sold were to real estate mogul Shane Baghai. They're on top of one of his condo developments. Maybe this is a way for your building's management to cut down of the cost of electricity in communal spaces, such as hallways and lobbies? Can't hurt to mention it.


Anonymous said...

have you seen the GUS vertical Axis Wind Turbines? These are really beautiful and work well. EfstonScience in Toronto has one installed as part of a hybrid wind and solar street light right at their store. These work really well on urban roofs! Check out their website at

Craig Saunders said...

I have seen it, but haven't looked into it in great detail. It's a similar concept to the Windterra model, which makes use of the upward gusting that you get on sloped roofs.

Scott Jowett said...

I'm not sure what economic sense the Wind Dancer makes to Shane Baghai as $27,000 is rather a lot to pay for a lightning rod. I'm guessing though that the more appropriate description from the article is 'strange sculpture.' I guess having a couple of these sitting on top of his condo buildings would give it an air of greeness. Surely Craig you must have had doubts as to the functionality of these things as turbines. Increasing the number of blades will help the thing turn in low wind speeds but low winds don't
have much power in them to start with. Also when you have more than 3 blades they create turbulence for the blades following them reducing efficiency, especially if for some strange reason they are shaped like peanuts. Turbulence not only is hard on the turbine but it also slows the wind robbing it of it's power. Perhaps that's the reason for the multiple peanut shaped blades? This design combined with a high torque alternator would probably guarantee a very low tip speed ratio, thus the low noise. Which would be a smart idea as I imagine those peanuts would start vibrating and flying at any real speed, or at any speed fast enough to start producing electricity. I'm glad to hear that each blade is backed up by a safety cable.

KarenInTo said...

Two more BIG turbines are planned to be planted next to the one down at Exhibition Place in Toronto ( No firm decision has been made yet, though.

I like the big turbines, and the plan to install a farm 2km into Lake Ontario off the Scarborough Bluffs is a good one, too. Though I don't live down there, 2km is a good distance away, even for the NIMWF (Not in my Waterfront) crowd.

windterra said...

WINDTERRA (Green) News June 2009

In this issue:

1. OFF – Grid capability
2. Poles. Poles, Poles
3. FIT program
4. Financing
5. Permitting

The ECO 1200 is a now both a “Grid Tie” and “off grid product. The ECO 1200’s vertical axis design is an industry leader. The “all inclusive” simplistic mount, turbine, generator and matched inverter make an easily installed complete package. How much simpler than joining a wire to a breaker in the panel box or tie to your battery bank can you get! We are always facing the wind!

The inclusion of an off-grid option allows the power created by the ECO 1200 to be stored in batteries. The Battery Charger is only intended to be connected to a battery bank. The ability to convert energy into a range from 24 v - 48 v DC power leaves many options. This device also has an operating range from – 25 to 40 degrees Celsius.

In response to customer interest we continue to expand our recommended installation options. Last issue we promoted the use of outbuildings as an option. After working with different supply companies, using our specification requirements, we have suppliers in place for three types of poles…steel, composite, and wood. All three would place our unit about 30 ft. above ground. The steel pole requires a cement foundation. The composite and wood poles require a bored hole. Poles can be purchased for as little as $1000.00.

Recently we read about a “FIT” program. There is a movement towards a feed in tariff program. This program is designed to pay the small energy producer for each KW produced. This is a significant change in support of “Green Energy”.

We have worked with lending agencies and have a simplified process in place. By working with lending agencies we have virtually removed the bureaucracy of financing a wind turbine. These lending agencies know our product and have a great offer to help diminish the immediate cash outlay.

Work on the permitting side is also developing. We have example letters to neighbors, a sample ordinance along with advice on permitting available for your use.

Please contact us for further information or a reseller contact

Have you looked at our brochure lately?

Windterra is Building Tomorrow’s Energy Future …Today!

Larry Wagner Phone 403-456-3350

Vertical Axis Wind Turbines said...

vertical axis wind turbines is that the horizontal wind turbines have a tail rudder that always moves to face the turbine into the wind. Depending on how the wind is blowing, this can be distracting or downright annoying.

Vertical axis wind turbines are stationary and can be anchored with guy wires. As for which type of turbine captures the wind better, there is debate there as well. Horizontal turbines will get wind at ground level, where the vertical turbines miss it, yet vertical wind turbines capture wind that is higher up in the air.