i18: Installation of publicly owned vertical axis wind turbines designed for urban spaces

3 supporter

Wind turbines are one of the main renewable electricity sources in the UK, however, most are large conventional wind turbines off the shore or in the countryside. However, there have been recent innovations in designing wind turbines that can be installed within cities to generate renewable energy, e.g. vertical axis wind turbines (see here for instance https://www.smithsonianmag.com/innovation/these-creative-wind-turbines-will-have-you-rethinking-what-you-know-about-wind-power-180957767/ and here https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/engineering/vertical-axis-wind-turbine ). We suggest installing a network of such urban design wind turbines across Hull. We moreover suggest that this enterprise should be cooperatively owned by the city’s citizens, a good example where this has worked very well is the Danish Island Samsø (see here: https://www.rapidtransition.org/stories/the-worlds-first-renewable-island-when-a-community-embraces-wind-power/). 

Wind energy can and should be harnessed in an urban setting to generate renewable energy for citizens. Various designs are now available that are both efficient in generating energy and aesthetically appealing. For energy storage on less windy days one could potentially combine wind energy with a hydropower plant. The suggestion for cooperative ownership stems from the fact that this allows to get people onboard. The principle that was put into practice in Samsø was that if you could see a turbine from your window, you could sign on as a co-investor. The fact that so much of the island’s community have a direct stake in the wind turbines helped to build the near unanimous consensus that the transition to self-generated renewable energy was a good thing. As the Samsø community is now selling excess energy into the national grid, people actually make substantial money with their investment as well.

Response to Suggestions
  • Hazard: I think this is an important point. But I wonder whether here some expert input would be needed, as I don't exactly know what the hazard risks are for urban design windmills. I would assume that since they are designed for the urban space, that they would be relatively safe, but it is important to have clarity on this. With respect to your other suggestions, maybe you want to suggest a competing initiative for publicly owned wind mills outside the city and an independent initiative with respect to solar panels on roofs? 

Suggestions for improvement (1)

written and rated by the supportes of this initiative to improve the proposal and its reasons

Wind or/and PV?

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| implemented: 
I fully agree that Hull should own renewable energy resources, but I think the current initiative has some drawbacks. Wind mills within the city could pose a hazard to wildlife and people. They are known to present a hazard to birds. They also need a large clear area around due to ice debris falling from them (I've been in Oak Park when a lump of ice the size of a bus fell from the turbine). For these reasons, siting them would be difficult. I guess having a turbine in the Humber would be possible and highly visible as a landmark (I imagine t-shirts with Humber Bridge and Hull Turbine). In terms of value-for-money, buying the output of an off-shore turbine, while the turbine was operated by Semens/Orsted, could notionally increase the proportion of electricity used in Hull that was renewable; and so contribute to the carbon neutral target. For public engagement purposes, it would be good to have visible renewable energy generation within the city. Another way to achieve this would be for council house roofs to be used for photovoltaic arrays. The council owns a large number of suitable roofs. Given the payback period of about 7 years, the capital could be provided by private investors. This would be highly visible and would provide those in the council houses with free electricity.

Issue #18

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