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WS-4C installation in Vaasa, Finland: The Acceptable Face of Urban Wind Power Production.

The place is Vaasa a city on Finland’s West Coast. The building now owned by the University of Vaasa is a renovated cotton mill that looks as if it has been plucked from any of a hundred mill towns in Yorkshire or Lancashire, England.

The University have already installed and run extensive monitoring and testing on two small vertical axis wind turbines supplied by Oy Windside Production in Finland. The results of which have proved quite remarkable in respect of power produced for the size of turbines and in respect of the number of days the turbines have produced power. Days on which conventional propeller type turbines would be inactive. Today they are installing a new turbine. Again it is a vertical axis wind turbine from Windside, but this time the turbine is over thirteen times the size of its little sisters, known affectionately as Marina and Nina by the University staff.

WS-0,30B and WS-0,30C on the roof of Tritonia building, University of Vaasa, Finland.
WS-0,30B and WS-0,30C on the roof of Tritonia building, University of Vaasa, Finland.

The university have made a real effort to make the installation appear an integral part of the building. They have designed and built a steel structure on which the turbine is to be mounted. The structure is in the Victorian style and matches the ironwork of other buildings in the area. It has been painted a metallic gun metal grey and is sitting in the car park opposite the building. The structure alone has drawn great interest from passers by curious to know what it is and why it is there. At eight o’clock in the morning the large packing crate on the back of a trailer starts to be opened and over the next hour the turbine is carefully unpacked, unwrapped and hoisted by a crane so that it is hanging above the structure. Two men ensure the mounting bolts of the generator are guided through their mating holes in the structures mounting plate and then the whole unit is secured to the structure. The entire process has taken less than two hours and when one of the engineers removes the locking bolt the turbine starts to rotate in what can only be described as the gentlest of breezes. The assembled crowd who have gathered over the last hour spontaneously applaud. The engineer makes a mock bow and descends the ladder from the structure, then stands back to survey the turbine as it silently rotates.

The entire structure is due to be lifted onto the roof of the building and its final position, however the crane for this job will not arrive now until the following Tuesday. The university staff involved with the project don’t seam to mind this delay as they pose for photographs in front of the turbine and make endless explanations to the interested onlookers. By eleven o’clock the press have heard about this beautiful piece of art that is to be mounted on the university buildings roof. It is explained to them that what they are photographing is not art but a functioning wind turbine producing electrical power. One journalist on studying the construction of the turbine makes the comparison with DNA. One of the university staff likens the movement of the turbine to the gracefulness of a ballerina pirouetting. Many different ideas for what the turbine looks like are ventured, but all seam to be in accord the whole thing is a beautiful addition to the building.

Mr. Risto Joutsiniemi the designer and Managing Director of Windside Production, explained with obvious pride his mission in life to bring this type of turbine to the market. A turbine many of the great and good of the wind energy establishment said could not work. This view has now been firmly debunked.

The unit is said to be silent in operation and safe for our feathered friends thus making it well suited for urban environments. It was also explained that its unique vertical double helix design makes it better able to deal with wind that rapidly changes direction and speed, another feature prevalent in urban landscapes.

WS-4C of University of Vaasa, Finland
WS-4C of University of Vaasa, Finland.

Since leaving Vaasa and the turbine surrounded by its ever changing crowd of onlookers, the turbine and the assembly are now in place on the roof of the university and have already become something of a signature on the topography of Vaasa.

The turbine can be viewed in action by going to www.windside.com Click on links, Click on Windside Wind Turbines on roof Tritonia University Campus.

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