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Jul 142009
 
Addison will build a water tower powered by 10 eight-foot-tall vertical axis wind turbines.

Illustration: Freese and Nichols

By Tom Kessler

Addison, Texas’ planned new water tower is destined to be noticed — and not just because it will be 195-feet tall. The water tower will be among the first in the nation to be powered by wind turbines mounted on top.

Ten eight-foot-tall wind turbines will supply enough power to run the tower as well as street lights on Arapaho Road in this suburb north of Dallas. Adding to its uniqueness, the $5 million project will include a community classroom in the pedestal base, where school children will be able to learn about wind energy and water distribution.

The project also calls for use of native and drought-tolerant landscaping.

“We wanted to do something that looked nice and also was as sustainable as possible,” said public works director Nancy Cline. “The city has always been cognizant of the impact of decisions in the design process and we are always thinking about the future and sustainability. “

The tower also will serve as a piece of civic art. It is being designed by Dallas artist Brad Goldberg, who is known for his ability to fuse sculpture, landscape and urban design.

“He has worked a lot with projects particularly like some of the DART (Dallas Area Rapid Transit) areas and the Trinity River Corridor with Dallas,” Cline said. “He is able to understand what the circumstances are and what the constraints are and still think outside the box.”

Fort Worth engineering firm Freese and Nichols, a partner on the project, looked at possibly using solar to generate power but ultimately decided wind was the right solution. “It came down to efficiency, and we believed wind would deliver better results,” said Jessica Brown, Freese’s project manager for the tower.

The Addison project will use vertical axis wind turbines.

The project will use vertical axis wind turbines from Cleanfield Energy. This kind of wind turbine rotates about the shaft’s vertical axis and is particularly well suited to urban areas because it can capture energy regardless of the wind direction.

In the next few months, the city will install one of the wind turbines on a 40-foot pole. An anemometer will be placed on top and on the city’s existing tower at Addison Circle to measure the wind speed. “We’re hoping that will let you read out what the whole set of units is producing,” Cline said.

The project, planned at Arapaho Road and Surveyor Boulevard, is expected to go to bid later this year, with construction starting in early 2010.