Bahrain builds first wind powered towers: architect

MANAMA, March 19 Mon Mar 19, 2007 3:10pm EDT

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MANAMA, March 19 (Reuters Life!) - A twin skyscraper complex in Bahrain has become the world's first commercial development to include large-scale wind turbines in its structure to reduce reliance on fossil fuels, the architects said on Monday.

Builders have suspended three giant propellers between the two towers of the Bahrain World Trade Center (BWTC) that will supply 11-15 percent of its energy needs, or 1100 to 1300 megawatt-hours per year -- enough to provide light in 300 homes for over a year, architecture firm Atkins said.

"This is the first time anywhere in the world that a commercial development has integrated large-scale wind turbines within its design to harness the power of the wind," Atkins said in a statement

The 240-meter high towers are designed to funnel wind into the turbines, which measure 29 meters (32 yards) in diameter.

BWTC designer Shaun Killa said that solar panels available at the time of construction lost their efficiency at high temperatures, making wind power more viable in Bahrain, an island state in the Gulf next to Saudi Arabia.

"Bahrain always has a tremendous amount of wind... Every morning when the sun comes up it heats the desert in Saudi Arabia, which draws in air from the Gulf. The wind in Bahrain is extremely consistent," Killa said at a news conference.

The turbines are due to undergo testing throughout 2007, BWTC's designers said. The building itself is due to open for business in the second half of 2007.

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