Wind turbines spin at Crissy Field

San Francisco is finally harnessing the powerful wind that blows across Crissy Field. The National Park Service installed two of five planned new wind turbines at the new Crissy Field Center this week with more on the way.

Power generated from the turbines will supply half the power for the 7,500 square foot urban environmental education center, as well as a new electric vehicle charging station.

Notoriously known for its blustery weather, Crissy Field is the ideal location for the new wind turbines. Laura Castellini, sustainability director for the Golden Gate National Recreation Area (GGNRA), told NBC Bay Area:

“It’s not the best place for a picnic, but for generating wind power it’s really good.”

The 30-foot turbines will look a little different from the ones you may be used to see at Altamont pass which have been blamed for many bird deaths. The new vertical turbines will be bird-friendly and capture winds that blow at an average of 10 mph. And if you don’t believe me, you can keep an eye on the birds yourself with the Center’s webcam.

Jon Jarvis, director of the National Park Service, said GGNRA decided to install the turbines in front of the center in order to show “the American public our stewardship of limited resources.” The turbines are also of Jarvis’ aim to make the nation’s parks more sustainable by 2016.

Students at nearby Galileo High School will also participate in the benefit from the turbines. Teams from the school will visit the site weekly to check on the turbines energy production as part of their environmental studies class.

Their findings will be used in a research study showing the effectiveness of small wind turbines by the Hawaii Natural Energy Institute who is partnering with GGNRA on the project. Galileo High student Lizzy Graham said:

“We’re basically looking to see if these are actually efficient first of all, if they’re safe, and if we can get them at our school.”

Crissy Field Center already has several other environmentally-friendly systems in place including a solar thermal water heating system, rainwater catchment system and a photovoltaic system. Following the installation of all the wind turbines, the center will qualify for Platinum LEED certification, the highest level of certification in environmental sustainability.