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Firms see wind power moving off the farms

We're a windy state, and getting windier Illinois' more than fivefold increase in wind power capacity last year all came from wind farms in rural areas. "They're going to be placed in rural settings. It's just not feasible to put a wind farm in an urban area because of the land use. The buildings themselves also cause some issues," said Roger Brown, program manager for Western Illinois University's Illinois Institute of Rural Affairs. ...However, Bil Becker of a Chicago firm called Aerotecture is among those banking on a change in thinking. Becker said wind power does not have to mean a wind farm. He says wind power can be generated in cities.

We're a windy state, and getting windier Illinois' more than fivefold increase in wind power capacity last year all came from wind farms in rural areas.

"They're going to be placed in rural settings. It's just not feasible to put a wind farm in an urban area because of the land use. The buildings themselves also cause some issues," said Roger Brown, program manager for Western Illinois University's Illinois Institute of Rural Affairs.

Wind farms are "very close to always" located on land that energy companies rent from farmers, Brown said. This means the farmers get standard, yearly payments and, in some cases, royalties.

"On a per-acre basis, it's a pretty good price compared to growing a row crop. It doesn't take that much land out of production," Brown said.

However, Bil Becker of a Chicago firm called Aerotecture is among those banking on a change in thinking.

Becker said wind power does not have to mean a wind farm. He says wind power can be generated in cities.

"Just because they can't build their 500-foot towers downtown ... they say there's no wind there," said Becker, whose past projects include small turbines atop a north suburban... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

We're a windy state, and getting windier Illinois' more than fivefold increase in wind power capacity last year all came from wind farms in rural areas.

"They're going to be placed in rural settings. It's just not feasible to put a wind farm in an urban area because of the land use. The buildings themselves also cause some issues," said Roger Brown, program manager for Western Illinois University's Illinois Institute of Rural Affairs.

Wind farms are "very close to always" located on land that energy companies rent from farmers, Brown said. This means the farmers get standard, yearly payments and, in some cases, royalties.

"On a per-acre basis, it's a pretty good price compared to growing a row crop. It doesn't take that much land out of production," Brown said.

However, Bil Becker of a Chicago firm called Aerotecture is among those banking on a change in thinking.

Becker said wind power does not have to mean a wind farm. He says wind power can be generated in cities.

"Just because they can't build their 500-foot towers downtown ... they say there's no wind there," said Becker, whose past projects include small turbines atop a north suburban law office, a Near North housing development and even a private home in Chicago's trendy Bucktown neighborhood.

In 1980, while a professor at the University of Illinois-Chicago, Becker was part of the team that built a propeller-style wind turbine at the Ladd Arboretum in Evanston. In 1982, the team concluded that propeller-style turbines, even small-scale ones, could not work in a city.

"They made too much noise, they vibrated too much, they collected and spun ice and, in worst-case scenarios, they spun too much and threw blades," Becker said.

Becker was convinced the problem was the design, not urban wind power itself.

Following this plan into the private sector, Becker founded Aerotecture. Along with a few other companies worldwide - Pacwind in California, Cleanfield Energy in Canada and Quiet Revolution in England - Aerotecture designs wind turbines made for the building top, not the cornfield.

More egg beater than propeller, the urban wind turbines generally spin horizontally, not vertically.

"We are better at getting urban winds because we get winds at all directions, not one ... and we are far better at catching turbulent, gusting winds," Becker said.

Cleanfield President Tony Verrelli said people looking into urban wind power should do their homework.

"There's a lot of misleading information," Verrelli said. "There's a lot of misleading companies out there."

A certification process should eliminate some of the misleading claims and create confidence in the new industry, he said. Also, Verrelli said urban wind could benefit from the government incentives that brought solar power and wind farms to the fore of green power.

"I think what Cleanfield and the whole industry is facing is that it's a new industry," Verrelli said.

 


Source: However, Bil Becker of a Ch...

JAN 22 2008
http://www.windaction.org/posts/12924-firms-see-wind-power-moving-off-the-farms
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