The U.S. Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) recently published a Built-Environment Wind Turbine Roadmap that outlines a strategy for providing consumers with safe, reliable small wind turbines and prioritizing the barriers to built-environment applications. Built-environment wind turbine (BWT) applications are defined as small wind turbines (with a capacity rating of less than 100 kilowatts) installed on or near buildings in both rural and urban areas.
According to the American Wind Energy Association, small wind "urban turbines" experienced a 430% sales growth between 2009 and 2010. However, improper installation and the sale of turbines not ready for commercialization have resulted in widespread reports of turbine underperformance and concerns about safety hazards that may ultimately diminish future market growth.
To address these concerns, industry stakeholders convened a Rooftop and Built-Environment Wind Turbine Workshop at NREL in 2010. Workshop attendees identified five key barriers to increasing the deployment of BWTs: safety, wind resource, turbine technology, building interactions, and nontechnical obstacles that include economic barriers and safety hazards. They then developed a strategic approach for mitigating these barriers.
The Built-Environment Wind Turbine Roadmap summarizes the results of the workshop and provides industry stakeholders with the steps they can take to ensure long-term market growth for the small wind turbine industry.