Urban Wind Another Example–Union City Indiana

By Paul Gipe

I’ve written before about what is real “urban wind” and in that article I’ve sited several examples.

There are so many examples of functioning, productive “urban wind” worldwide that I don’t bother to track them.

Note: This is an updated version of an article posted August 11, 2012.

Periodically, I am called to speak on the subject of “urban wind” usually as the “skunk at the party” to point out that small rooftop wind turbines–what many people unfortunately consider “urban wind”–are not useful, give wind energy a bad name, and are otherwise worthless. In doing so, I like to also give positive examples of how communities use real urban wind productively.

One example I came across is in the small eastern Indiana town of Union City.

Union City, population 4,000, is an old rustbelt community on the border between Indiana and Ohio and in its efforts are revitalization has installed two 1 MW Nordic Windpower turbines under a contract with Performance Services company.

One of the two-bladed turbines is installed at the city’s south well field, another was installed at the sewage treatment plant.

Performance Services owns the turbines, uses the federal tax subsidies, and after five years can “flip” ownership to the city for a fee.

The city receives payment from Performance Services for the electricity that it sells.

The project, one of several by Performance Services in Indiana, is both a good example of “urban wind” and “distributed generation”.

Distributed generation need not be limited to small rooftop solar systems. The two 1 MW turbines in Union City are connected to the “distribution” system and even though 1 MW each, fit the classic definition of distributed generation.