Cities look to wind for streetlight power source

Source: E&E • Posted: Monday, May 21, 2012

As municipal budgets continue to be cut, some cities around the world are looking to harness wind to power their streetlights.

While other cities have opted to use technologies such as light-emitting diodes and smart lighting, wind power — through distributed energy — has been an option that allows municipalities to cut down on fossil fuel usage and get off the traditional grid. The distributed renewable energy market was estimated to be about $70 billion globally last year and is expected to top $150 billion by 2015.

In Spain, the city of Málaga has started to use wind turbines built by Urban Green Energy to power its streetlights. The company has pushed for installations that can be residential or commercial. It has created and installed urban wind turbines in more than 60 countries since 2008.

“With the right wind resource, hotels, the military, businesses, homeowners and off-grid telecom sites can generate the energy they need onsite and save on their electric bills, or operate off of the utility grid,” said Mateo Chaskel, Urban Green Energy’s associated vice president of operations.

By the end of this year, several countries that have the installed capacity for small wind power will include the United States, China, the United Kingdom, Germany, Canada, Spain, Poland, Japan, Italy, Sweden and South Korea (Jennifer Hicks, Forbes, May 17). — JE