Chad Deal 8:22 p.m., May 20
San Diego Gas & Electric has installed a vertical axis wind turbine for testing at Harbor Island Park, the Port of San Diego reported yesterday.
The device, about eight feet in diameter and mounted on top of a 30 foot tall pole, takes up about 450 square feet of space at the park and should be operational by January. When activated, it’s expected to produce about two kilowatts of power when operating at peak potential, and will power a nearby sewage pump station for the City of San Diego. When operating, the device produces about five decibels of noise, less than a whisper.
The project is jointly funded by SDG&E and Nakao International Consulting & Enterprises, and the Port will also be a research partner. The test turbine, manufactured by the Japanese firm Enepro, will remain in place for approximately one year.
“Harbor Island Park was chosen due to the regularity at which winds from the San Diego Harbor blow through there, and its visibility to the public to solicit feedback on the turbine,” said Jenner Smith, the Port’s real estate asset manager, in a press release. Methods for gathering that feedback will be developed in the coming months.
Numerous turbines of similar design have already been installed with success in Japan, according to Nakao. A significant finding is less harm to local bird populations as compared to current designs that mount propellers horizontally to harvest wind energy, a problem that has angered environmentalists normally predisposed to support green energy technology.
The Port’s participation is an extension of its Green Port Program, begun in 2008 to enhance environmental standards. Since the program’s inception, more than $4.2 million in grant funds have been used to lessen the Port’s environmental footprint.