How is the air up there?
Urban turbines seem to be catching on. This vertical-axis turbine has recently popped up atop the "i-Centre" at 50 Manners St, there's a smaller one on top of the already environmentally-advanced Conservation House down the road, and the Vector Energy trial turbine that I wrote about in June will be installed on The Terrace. In addition, The Wellington Company plans to go beyond their installations at i-Centre and DOC to add turbines to six buildings along the Golden Mile "within the coming months".
My previous post attracted some sceptical comments, and there has indeed been some debate over the benefits or otherwise of microgeneration. My take on the issue is that it's wise to keep it all in context, beware of over-optimistic projections, and not think that they will obviate the need for large-scale wind farms. As part of a wider package of grid-based renewable energy, reverse metering, photovoltaics, solar water heating and efficiency measure, they could indeed become a viable small part of the solution, especially if the cost of large-scale generation rises.
Much of the criticism of roof-based turbines is based on the problems of "suburban turbines". Of course a turbine located close to the ground among all the roofs of a suburban street is going to have an unfavourable wind regime, and I can certainly imagine vibration problems coming from a turbine on a single-family home. But (without any real analysis), I'd suspect that a turbine mounted fifteen floors up in downtown Wellington is not going to struggle to get enough wind, and that you'd need a lot of vibration to affect a concrete office or apartment block. I look forward to seeing more of these, and getting some actual data on how useful they'll be in Wellington's very particular situation.