The first set of small-scale urban wind turbines in the U.S. are being installed in Portland atop the new Twelve|West tower this week.
Gerding Edlen Development Co., together with the Goodman family, developed the 22-story tower with plans to generate up to 1 percent of its energy needs with a series of four rooftop wind turbines. Hoffman Construction will hoist the final blades into place Aug. 14 and the turbines will be turned on.
Twelve|West, formerly called 12W for its location at Southwest 12th Avenue and Washington Street, contains a mix of office space and 273 apartments. Zimmer Gunsul Frasca Architects LLP, which designed the tower, has moved its corporate headquarters to the building.
In 2007, as architects prepared renderings for the building, they included the rooftop turbines — which cost about $10,000 apiece — as a fanciful touch.
Later, ZGF and Gerding Edlen gave the idea more serious consideration.
An extensive study of local wind patterns concluded the idea would work if the turbines were placed high enough above the roof’s 79-foot elevation to catch the prevailing winds, which flow across the city from the northwest in the summer and in the opposite direction in the winter.
The wind turbines are anchored to the building in a bed of cement and steel and wired in at the power panel. Gerding Edlen, ZGF and the Energy Trust of Oregon underwrote the cost.