Wind Power Coming To an Urban Area Near You

Wind Power may be coming to an urban area near you thanks to Oregon Wind (especially if you live in Portland).

Oregon Wind is doing Beta testing of its Helyx HE-40 Urban Turbine. Unlike other bulkier wind turbines the Helyx spins on a vertical axis, allowing it to generate power from any direction with wind speeds as little as 5.5 mph.

The Helyx is also quite small, 42" by 18", and could be placed on top of light posts or other urban structures. Its helix shape makes wildlife safety a non-issue, as birds perceive it as a solid, and it looks rad!

In addition to the fact that this urban turbine is creating clean energy, it is also made of recycled materials. The helix-shaped turbine is made of recycled car bumpers, and the base could be made of recycled steel or aluminum.

The Oregon Wind's Helyx HE-40 is not currently available for sale. However, they are testing 22 of these Urban Turbines in 2009. They will be located on the south end of the Portland Mall Light Rail Project, and will feed energy directly into Portland General Electric's grid.

It is estimated that the 22 turbines will generate up to 275 watts and that an individual turbine could put out 40 watts with a 28 mph wind.

The estimated 275 watts equates to about 12.5 watts per turbine, or enough to power one very small LED light. Though this may be a small amount of wattage for a green power generator, the recycled materials that the turbines are made from are purported to last for several decades. At the estimated future price of $1000, it may make long term sense to buy a turbine (or 100) to lock in your electricity rates (they will surely go up).


Kari Chisholm said...

Hmmm.... I am, admittedly, not as fully-versed on electrical power costs as I could be.

That said, I'm sitting here trying to do the calculations and maybe I've got the decimal points in all the wrong places - but every calculation I get says that 40 watts produced 24 hours a day for 365 days a year costs around $30/year.

Why would I buy a turbine for hundreds of dollars (even a thousand) to generate power that I can buy for $30/year?

$300/year and maybe we're talking. But a 25-30 year earnback? Nah.

(And that's 40 watts year-round. I'm pretty sure we don't get 28 mph winds year-round.)

Eric Carlson said...

My calculations had it at about $25 a year, this is true.

But, the redeeming fact about this wind turbine is that it is supposed to last for decades.

So, if it did last for 40 years (and it very well may) then it would be paid off.

Not to mention how much energy will cost in 40 years.

I agree that it is a large up front investment for negligible savings,but it is a nice looking urban fixture that will pave the way for future alternative energy improvements.

Jonathan said...

Five bucks says some kid loses their finger in it...