Wind in Urban Areas

Before you can install a wind turbine in an urban area you will need to understand what technology is available and know if there is sufficient wind speeds to make it worthwhile. You will also need to address other issues such as grid connection.

The new Consumer Guide to Small Wind Turbine Generation adds to the backround information contained in Sustainability Victoria's two previous small wind turbine reports. On this page there is now information about:

  • the suitability of the technology for urban Melbourne
  • the potential wind energy available at ten locations in urban Melbourne (Updated July 2010)
  • the process of identifying a good wind site to installing a small wind turbine.

The studies found that:

  • Small wind turbines installed in typical urban areas are likely to operate at low capacity, be subject to periods of non-operation and take a long time before achieving payback on the initial costs.
  • The most promising sites in urban built environments are broad open areas on the seashore and on top of high rise commercial buildings.

The Consumer Guide covers:

  • How to assess the wind resource at your site?
  • How to choose a wind turbine?
  • What are the likely issues that need to be addressed for planning permission?
  • How to install a small wind turbine system?
  • What was the experience of people who installed a small wind turbine?

The Technology

The study Viability of Domestic Wind Turbines for Urban Melbourne deals with the available small wind technology. The report:

  • surveys the available technology
  • reviews case studies of urban wind projects installed overseas
  • identifies issues to be addressed by those considering installing a small wind turbine.

The case studies of small wind turbines show low economic performance and long payback periods which is frequently ascribed to a lack of accurate wind measurement installation.

The findings of the research highlight some of the issues relevant to this scale of wind technology, including:

  • wind turbines performance
  • planning
  • grid connection.

Document | PDF | 926KB
Viability of Domestic Wind Turbines for Urban Melbourne

Document | PDF | 1274KB
Domestic wind report appendices

The Wind Resource

The study Victorian Urban Wind Resource Assessment measured wind speeds and other wind characteristics at ten locations across Melbourne. The report indicates the potential energy available in the wind at these locations.

Over a period of three months measurements were taken of wind speed, wind direction and wind turbulence. Sites included:

  • residential roofs
  • backyards
  • on a commercial high rise building in the CBD.

Wind speeds were correlated with data from the Bureau of Meteorology to estimate long term wind speed profiles to estimate the potential energy available from the wind at these locations.

The wind turbulence results show the influence of the surrounding terrain on the wind and the risk of damage to small wind turbines.

The findings of the report highlight that the more favourable wind energy characteristics occur in open terrain or substantial elevation above the rough layer of the urban landscape. In general, wind speeds are reduced close to buildings.

The study found that out of the ten selected sites the most promising sites in urban built environments are

  • broad open areas on the seashore
  • on top of high rise commercial buildings.

Document | PDF | 3246KB
Victorian Urban Wind Resource Assessment

The Consumer Guide to Small Wind Turbine Generation

Our Consumer Guide to Small Wind Turbine Generation is for everyone who is thinking about installing a small wind turbine on their property. This Consumer Guide gives useful information to assist you to make an informed decision about whether your site has a good wind resource and what type of wind turbine to purchase. It also covers likely requirements to fulfil planning permission and how to get a small wind turbine system installed. Case Studies from Victoria provide background information and experiences in installing small wind turbine systems.

Document | PDF | 1359KB
Consumer Guide to Small Wind Turbine Generation