Article

Roof next stop for turbines

Move over satellite dish -- make room for a little wind. Wind power, that is, as in rooftop turbines. City council will be asked to pass a bylaw Monday to regulate the new green power, small versions of the turbines popping up along the shores of lakes Erie and Huron. As satellite dishes became common, so, too, will renewable energy products such as solar panels and even rooftop turbines, some experts say.

Move over satellite dish -- make room for a little wind.

Wind power, that is, as in rooftop turbines.

City council will be asked to pass a bylaw Monday to regulate the new green power, small versions of the turbines popping up along the shores of lakes Erie and Huron.

As satellite dishes became common, so, too, will renewable energy products such as solar panels and even rooftop turbines, some experts say.

"I'd say three to five years," said Jim Rowan, co-designer of the Mag-Wind, a rooftop turbine generating a lot of interest. "Right now, it's only the occasional brave individual who does it. But I liken these to the home personal computer. It took off, completely supplanting the existing computer market."

The turbines -- still in the developmental stage -- have come under fire for vibration and poor performance as they try to harness uneven wind flow in urban settings where it can be blocked by large buildings, trees or roof designs.

They're not cheap, estimated at $20,000 to include a Mag-Wind in the construction of a house, more if it's a retrofit for an older home.

Rooftop turbines can produce as much as five kilowatts of electricity, more than enough to power a house. The... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

Move over satellite dish -- make room for a little wind.

Wind power, that is, as in rooftop turbines.

City council will be asked to pass a bylaw Monday to regulate the new green power, small versions of the turbines popping up along the shores of lakes Erie and Huron.

As satellite dishes became common, so, too, will renewable energy products such as solar panels and even rooftop turbines, some experts say.

"I'd say three to five years," said Jim Rowan, co-designer of the Mag-Wind, a rooftop turbine generating a lot of interest. "Right now, it's only the occasional brave individual who does it. But I liken these to the home personal computer. It took off, completely supplanting the existing computer market."

The turbines -- still in the developmental stage -- have come under fire for vibration and poor performance as they try to harness uneven wind flow in urban settings where it can be blocked by large buildings, trees or roof designs.

They're not cheap, estimated at $20,000 to include a Mag-Wind in the construction of a house, more if it's a retrofit for an older home.

Rooftop turbines can produce as much as five kilowatts of electricity, more than enough to power a house. The current residential rate in Ontario is 5.5 cents a kilowatt hour.

A staff report endorsed by council's planning committee says rooftop turbines should be regulated no differently than satellite dishes.

"People are looking for opportunities to use renewable sources of energy," said Coun. Joni Baechler, planning committee chairperson. "We absolutely have to. Anything we can do to divert demand from coal-fired plants, the better it is for our air quality."

Similar bylaws have been approved across the country, especially in rural areas where wind farms are being developed and wind is being used to power farms.

The proposed bylaw would allow turbines that produce as much as 50 kilowatts of power. Larger units would require public meetings and city council approval.

The bylaw also would cover the larger wind turbines similar to those on wind farms along the Great Lakes.

Rowan said architects are only now integrating rooftop turbines into designs. That's important, he said, since roof designs are key to harnessing windflow and the effectiveness of the turbines, whether propeller drive or vertical types such as the Mag-Wind.

While rooftop turbines can produce more than enough to power a house, homeowners will need a second power source, Rowan said, because the wind doesn't always blow.

For the homeowner, that could mean staying on the local power grid or combining wind power with solar panels.

The payback for a combined system is estimated between 20 and 25 years, Rowan said.

 



Source: http://lfpress.ca/newsstand...

MAR 21 2007
https://www.windaction.org/posts/7886-roof-next-stop-for-turbines
back to top