WinCity Brussels

Wind energy is most likely to be the most important source of renewable power between now and 2050. The largest contribution will come from large wind turbines, which increasingly will be built in the sea.
 
There are obvious reasons why larger wind turbines are better. They catch more wind, of course, and they are on higher towers, where the wind blows harder. Still, small wind turbines are an indispensable addition to the large turbines. The better small wind turbines are today comparable with solar panels in terms of cost-benefit ratio. Because the technology of small wind turbines is nowadays much less evolved than the technology of solar panels, it is reasonable to assume that the yield of small wind turbines still will improve significantly. Moreover, a profitable wind turbine in a city environment is the best possible publicity one can imagine for renewable energy, and will boost the local community awareness of energy consumption and production.
 
It therefore makes sense to investigate if small wind turbines also could be productive in an urban environment. Urban environments seem less appealing, as the little wind in cities is usually very variable both in speed and wind direction. Yet it is in principle possible to (re)design the shape of buildings and residential blocks to ensure that the wind is channeled to places where wind turbines can be located. Additionally, Brussels has many tall buildings, where the wind conditions are often excellent.
 
For that reason, researchers within BruWind, along with the architectural firm Amaay and the Von Karman Institute seriously began to explore the possibilities for giving wind power a place in the city. This initiative will run under the name WinCity Brussels.