RICHARD RICHTMYER, AP via Forbes, February 2, 2009
New York state officials are using a small wind turbine atop Albany’s tallest building to test a big renewable energy idea.
The turbine stands 17 feet above the roof of the 41-story Corning Tower. Its 7-foot diameter blades can produce up to 1.5 kilowatts of electricity when spinning at full capacity. That’s less than one-tenth of a percent of the electricity workers in the state office building use every day, said John Egan, commissioner of the state Office of General Services.
But the idea isn’t to use the turbine – which resembles a large pinwheel – to offset the tower’s energy use. Instead, workers will use it to test the feasibility of larger urban wind-energy programs, Egan said.
“This is really experimental,” he said. “It will tell us which way we should be going.”
Egan and his staff are working with the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority on the pilot program. NYSERDA workers will collect performance data from the so-called “micro-turbine” to study how they work in urban environments.
It’s a small step toward achieving a policy goal that Gov. David Paterson has set for the state to meet 45% of its electricity needs through improved efficiency and renewable energy by 2015. The Corning Tower pilot project cost around $15,000.
“Harnessing the power of the wind in an urban setting could provide us with yet another way to expand the state’s renewable energy resources, create thousands of ‘green collar’ jobs, reduce our dependence on foreign oil and address global climate change,” said Robert Callender, NYSERDA’s vice president for programs.