How Not to Site Vertical Axis Wind Turbines (Mariah Windspire) #2

By Paul Gipe

Three Mariah Vertical Axis Wind Turbines were recently installed for Keep Indianapolis Beautiful (KIB), a non-profit in the Fountain Square district of downtown Indianapolis, Indiana. 

This is a classic example of how not to install wind turbines to best advantage. The best that can be said about this installation is that at least they were not mounted on top of the building.

According to Laura Arnold of the Indiana Renewable Energy Association, who took this photo, KIB received a grant from Indianapolis Power and Light to install the turbines. As Laura reports, there is a digital display of the production from the turbines.

Cynics could suggest that this is the type of installation that one would expect if the utility company wanted to demonstrate that wind turbines do not work in Indiana.

The wind turbine project may be part of KIB’s LEED certification of their new building.

How can KIB remedy this situation? They can simply redesignate the “wind turbines” as “sculptures” and remove the metering. Mariah VAWT at KIB in Indianapolis, Indiana. Photo by Laura Arnold.

Note: If you can’t tell why these are world-class examples of poor siting, please see some of the many books on wind energy. Note that the “wind” turbines are surrounded by trees, buildings, and other obstructions to the wind.

NREL Mariah Power (Windspire) Tests–The Windspire is a 1.2-kW vertical-axis small wind turbine. The turbine tower is 9.1 meters tall, and its rotor area is 1.2 x 6.1 meters. The turbine has a permanent-magnet generator with a single-phase output at 120 volts AC. . .