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Thread: Vertical axis wind turbines

  1. #1
    Cyburbian MacheteJames's avatar
    Jun 2005
    NYC area

    Vertical axis wind turbines

    Have any of you guys had to deal with these in development review? Basically, I'm taking about the type of small wind turbine with a vertical shaft that looks like a roof mechanical and only extrudes a few feet beyond the roofline. There is nothing in our code that deals with these at all. We require that roof mechanicals be screened, but in the case of one of these, if you screen it, it won't function since it needs airflow to work. We haven't had one of these before the boards yet - our Planning Board chair brought this up as a hypothetical scenario. Thoughts?

  2. #2
    Cyburbian mike gurnee's avatar
    Feb 1998
    Greensburg, Kansas
    A turbine on an existing roof will vibrate all the way to the foundation. It will not work. Regardless, your code should be amended to accommodate turbines of all styles.

  3. #3
    Unfrozen Caveman Planner mendelman's avatar
    May 2003
    Staff meeting
    I don't have direct permit plan experience, but I was one of two staff that worked to create extensive regulations for allowing small turbine systems (among other renewable techs) throughout the city. For commercial and industrial we were going to allow them (within reason) by right.

    Residential areas were handled more cautiously, as you can imagine.
    I'm sorry. Is my bias showing?

    Every day is today. Yesterday is a myth and tomorrow an illusion.

  4. #4
    Cyburbian ColoGI's avatar
    Jul 2009
    Colo Front Range
    Quote Originally posted by mike gurnee View post
    A turbine on an existing roof will vibrate all the way to the foundation. It will not work. Regardless, your code should be amended to accommodate turbines of all styles.
    I'm not sure I agree with the first two sentences, I definitely agree with the last.

    I will say, however, incentivizing too much is a bad idea, as the turbulence in cities at roof level is high, leading to more intermittency in turbines and loss of capacity (even in the often higher-efficiency vertical turbines).

  5. #5
    Interesting opinion about turbines in residential districts in Indiana. From the story:

    The Indiana Court of Appeals has published a potentially precedent-setting decision upholding a Warrick County resident's right to build a wind turbine on his property. The three-judge panel unanimously affirmed an earlier decision by Warrick Superior Court Judge Keith Meier.

    In its ruling, the state appeals court said not allowing wind turbines in a residential area would prevent property owners from benefiting from public policies encouraging alternative energy development.

    The ruling is significant because as a published opinion, rather than just a case-specific memorandum, it can be cited by attorneys arguing similar cases in other communities, said Morrie Doll, attorney for the Warrick County Board of Zoning Appeals. He said it could set precedent not only in Indiana but nationally.
    "You can count on two hands all of the cases in the country dealing with this," he said.

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