Tower problems likely to occur as small wind turbines become more popular in residential areas.
Problems that can be expected include:
1. Towers could obstruct the view of neighbors due either to height or aesthetic considerations.
2. Towers could fail due to inadequate engineering design considerations. Specific issues could involve high wind velocities or multidirectional turbulent winds, turbine weight and/or rotation interactions with tower structure, tower harmonic frequency considerations, adequacy of the tower support structure and anchors or adequacy and strength of the guy wires.
3. Towers could fail due to inadequate maintenance and inspection.
4. Tower design could result in bird mortality. Although small towers are not typically considered significant bird killers, the possibility does exist.
5. Tower presence could provide an “attractive nuisance” and a significant safety hazard. Utilities have sometimes had problems with people climbing transmission towers. Children could be similarly tempted to climb local wind towers. Adequate security precautions need to be taken to prevent entry and climbing on the structures.
6. Tower failures could result in injury to people or animals or adjacent structures unless sufficient setbacks, requirements, and precautions are taken.
7. Noise is a potential, but unlikely, issue. In a reading during the first weeks of the course, it was mentioned that small turbine noise was a more significant issue than for large turbines. In citing noise as an issue, I am considering the noise arising from the interaction between the rotating turbine and the tower.
8. Inadequate zoning regulations are likely to result in considerable community agitation when homeowners start putting in wind turbines.
9. Scam artists will arise who promise to build wind systems cheaply for homeowners who will look for the lowest cost.
10.There will be community concerns raised as more people start trying to "build their own" towers and wind turbine units because there will be considerable variation in what people consider as acceptable quality.
While researching this discussion issue, the zoning and planning actions being taken by different communities across the country was enlightening in light of the fact that Klickitat County will accept most home systems carte-blanche.
1. Google search, http://www.google.com/search?num=100&hl=en&newwindow=1&q=problems+with+wind+turbine+towers+in+residential+areas&aq=f&aqi=&aql=&oq=&gs_rfai=
2. Wind Energy Model Ordinance Options , NYS Energy Research & Development Authority, Katherine Daniels, NY Planning Federation, http://www.powernaturally.org/programs/wind/toolkit/2_windenergymodel.pdf
3. Formulatios For The Optimal Design Of RC Wind Turbine Towers, Marcelo A Silva, Reyolando MLRF Brasil, Jasbir S Arora, EngOpt 2008 - International Conference on Engineering Optimization, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 01 - 05 June 2008, http://www.engopt.org/nukleo/pdfs/0413_silva_et_al.pdf
4. Wind Turbine Towers - Some thoughts on Towers , Forcefield, 2000, http://www.otherpower.com/otherpower_wind_towers.html
5. Regulating Backyard Wind Turbines, Dwight H. Merriam, Vermont Journal of Environmental Law, Volume 10, Issue 2, Winter 2009, pages 291-313, http://www.vjel.org/journal/pdf/VJEL10091.pdf
6. Garland considers ordinance on residential wind energy devices , Frank Trejo, The Dallas Morning News, November 16, 2008, http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/news/localnews/stories/DN-windenergy_16met.ART.Central.Edition1.4ad422c.html
7. Recommended Amendments to the Zoning Regulations Regarding Small Wind Energy Systems, Baltimore County Planning Board, January 21, 2010, http://resources.baltimorecountymd.gov/Documents/Planning/legislation/WindTurbines/ApprovedReport.pdf
8. Klickitat County Washington Zoning Ordinance No. 62678, Sections 188.8.131.52, http://www.klickitatcounty.org/planning/FilesHtml/zoning_ord.pdf
Renewables Home - Virtual Nuclear Tourist - Tuesday March 29, 2011