While solar power gets a lot of attention in the US as a possible alternative energy source, European countries are focusing a great deal of attention on wind power. Denmark gets 20% of its power from wind, a percentage that's set to rise to at least 25% by the end of the decade. Most the Danish wind farms use giant turbines; these can be efficient, but expensive. Another up-and-coming wind power nation, Scotland, has decided to take a different approach: rooftop turbines.
According to the Financial Times, the first five rooftop turbines in a pilot program have now been installed in Fife, using a new turbine technology from the Edinburgh-based firm Renewable Devices. Not designed to totally replace grid power, the turbines are intended to provide supplemental power. The Renewable Devices design is the first to be able to dampen the noise and vibration enough to allow rooftop installation.
For now, the turbines cost £10,000, but Renewable Devices believes that they can get the price down to £1,500 in short order. The buildings in Fife installing the turbines received government subsidies, part of Scotland's overall plan to generate 10% of the country's power from renewable resources by 2010, and 40% by 2020.
For those of us without access to the FT article, the Scottish Executive website has a press release:
Launch of rooftop wind turbine pilot
The first installation of a world-leading rooftop turbine took place today at a Fife school.
One rooftop turbine is being installed at each of five Fife Primary schools in the new pilot, and if successful, the turbines could be sited on houses and buildings across Scotland.
The revolutionary Swift turbine has been developed by Edinburgh company Renewable Devices Limited, and is at the cutting edge of global renewables technology.