Environmental Protection

Spinning Turbines to Power Texas Water Tower

An educational facility to teach residents and school groups about wind energy and water distribution is in the base of the tower being completed in Addison, Texas, a city of about 15,000 residents on the northern rim of Dallas.

Addison, Texas, city officials say theirs will be the first Texas municipality and one of few in the United States to bring online a self-powered, 1.5-million-gallon water tower that doubles as an artwork. Eight wind turbines atop the 195-foot tower will provide enough energy to run it and street lights on a nearby road.

The turbines, made by Urban Green Energy of New York, N.Y., are already in place and spinning freely. The tower will not be fully operational until August 2012, however, said Carrie Rice, the public works department's director of communications and marketing.

The turbines on top of the tower and a demonstration turbine placed on a tall pole at the tower's base will produce about 70,000 kWh per year, Rice said.

Some of the power generated by the turbine at the tower's base can be sold back to the electrical grid, she added.

The design will include a classroom at the base of the tower where city residents, school groups, and other people can learn about wind generation and water distribution. Addison's Public Works and Parks Departments, the Fort Worth engineering firm Freese and Nichols, and Dallas artist Brad Goldberg collaborated on the project.

The city has about 15,000 residents and just one other water tower, but a major new development is already increasing the population. By the time that development is complete, it could add 5,000 to 8,000 more residents who require water services, Rice said.

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