A Berlin property developer wants to install wind turbines on top of a skyscraper
As of 2018, photovoltaic systems are cheaper than wind, however, wind generates energy more consistently
The Berlin Municipal Housing Association Hooge wants to install wind turbines in addition to one of its recent development projects – a 64 meter high residential tower in the district of Lichtenberg. The association has been trying to push the project through building regulators in the German capital since August 2021, according to a report by the RBBa media based in Berlin.
While the building is currently under construction with a 50% investment by the city, the The urban wind project has not yet been approved by regulators. Apparently, they are concerned about possible negative health risks associated with the project.
Wind power is both worse and better than solar
According to a report by LevelTen Energy, a US-based renewable energy consulting firm, since 2018 the cost of wind power has exceeded the cost of solar. A megawatt hour of wind power costs about 34 euros, while solar costs about 31 euros.
However, wind turbines still have notable advantages over photovoltaic systems. On the one hand, they generate energy more constantly, at night and in winter. At the same time, experts would say there is no one-size-fits-all renewable source. Instead, having a mix of sources can provide a constant energy supply.
Nevertheless, photovoltaic systems have started to become a staple of the urban environment in recent months, with municipalities almost competing on the amount they will invest in new projects. Howoge Managing Director Ulrich Schiller enters this debate with a simple proposal: why not try to integrate wind turbines in cities as well.
The new development on Frankfurt Ale has 398 apartments, half of which are financed by the city of Berlin and will be used as affordable housing, with rents of 6.50 euros per square meter. According to project details, the building should be ready for occupancy in the fall of 2022. Yet there are no photovoltaic panels on the roof, as has become customary for similar projects. On the contrary, it has foundations for four large wind turbines, which alone will be able to power 80 apartments.
The city’s concerns
The city has raised many concerns, ranging from noise pollution to dangerous ice formation in winter, a problem that is only made worse by the height of the building. Ulrich Schiller, for his part, ignored most of these concerns, as they do not correspond to the times.
He went on to point out that the wind turbines planned for the building are smaller and the blades would not protrude from the building. At the same time, he pointed out that due to a special coating, ice could accumulate on the rotor blades under very specific and rare conditions. He also advanced the claim that in terms of noise pollution, the potential environmental effect that wind turbines could have is negligible.