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Wilke, A.; Welfens, P.J.J.: Urban Wind Energy Production Potential: New Opportunities

Wilke, A.; Welfens, P.J.J.: Urban Wind Energy Production Potential: New Opportunities

JEL classification: Q42, Q48, Q50, R11

Key words: urban wind farming, MERRA2, wind energy potential, climate policy, regulation



Climate policy challenges reinforce the search for additional elements of renewable energy generation. Small-scale wind energy provides new opportunities for decentralized electricity production, while avoiding grid-dependence and transmission losses. This paper presents a potential analysis for urban wind energy production for two European cities and one US American city. The simulation follows the framework presented by Rezaeiha et al. (2020) and extends it by using the reanalysis wind grid dataset MERRA2 by NASA (GES DISC, 2020). The dataset combines reliable and complete weather observations in a standardized manner on a global scale, mitigating observation gaps of meteorological stations. This allows us to provide a preliminary potential analysis, that can be applied to almost any city worldwide. The analyzed cities show considerable urban wind energy farming potential. For the city of Lisbon, Portugal, the installation of seven VAWT on 264 buildings between 20 115 m throughout the city provides an annual wind energy production potential (AEPP) of 17,046 MWh, which approximately corresponds to the annual electricity consumption of 13,275 residents. In Hamburg, Germany, the AEPP amounts to 38,883 MWh produced by 4,970 turbines (seven turbines on 710 buildings), which approximately corresponds to the annual electricity consumption of 38,883 residents. In Boston, Massachusetts, USA seven turbines on 671 buildings between 20 220 m yield an AEPP of 29,171 MWh, which covers the annual electricity consumption of 6,400 residents. Individual insights for each city can be derived from this analysis, such that a general direction of thrust for the expansion of urban wind energy in a city can be derived. Additionally, the AEEP can easily be increased by using more efficient HAWT, whereby technological advancements in recent years have made them applicable even for the urban environment setting.   

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